East Portland Park dedicated; pool promised

Learn how the dedicated efforts of neighborhood advocates and city officials are bringing amenities to residents of outer East Portland‚

Officials from Portland Parks & Recreation, the City of Portland, neighborhood leaders, facility architects, and the building contractor break the ground for the East Portland Community Center Aquatic Center.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The dust flew as shovels held by city officials and community representatives dug into the hard-packed dirt behind the East Portland Community Center on SE 106th Avenue, just south of Floyd Light Middle School.

Their attempt at excavation was symbolic‚ this July 3 event was the groundbreaking ceremony for the community center’s long-awaited new Aquatic Center.

“Next year, we’ll be swimming in the pool at this spot,” announced Portland Parks & Recreation director Zari Santner. “This project was a long time coming. It was challenging. But we had an incredibly dedicated group of people who made it happen.”

Two pools and play water slides will grace the new East Portland Community Center Aquatic Center.

Santner commended the efforts of 18-year outer East Portland resident, and pool activist, Michelle Winningham, for helping aid the process.

“I’ve been frustrated that when we try to go swimming at the David Douglas pool, or the Montavilla or Mt. Scott community centers; we get turned away because they were always full,” Winningham commented. “I got involved by lobbying Portland’s mayor and city council to fund this unmet need for a pool here.”

Minutes after the dignitaries and neighbors left the groundbreaking site, heavy equipment moved in and started excavating.

Earl Boyles Park dedicated

1, 2, 3, CUT!4th & 5th graders from Earl Boyles Elementary School’s Summer Academy, and Portland Parks Commissioner Dan Saltzman, cut the ribbon that officially opened Earl Boyles Park.

Outer East Portland’s newest developed park is hidden away, just south of Earl Boyles Elementary School and Ron Russell Middle School.

“Although the park was substantially completed last November, we waited until the summertime to activate the water features,” explained George Lozovoy‚ project manager, designer, and landscape architect at Portland Parks & Recreation‚ at the “official” park opening.

This park, at SE 112th Avenue and Boise Street, said Lozovoy, was designed by neighbors and teachers to enhance the facilities already in place at the two David Douglas schools.

Barbara Rommel, Superintendent of David Douglas School District, said the park is a result of a good, connected effort between the parks and the school district. “This new park is important because, along with schools, it increases the livability of the community.”

Dignitaries on hand at the park’s dedication included Lents Neighborhood Association President Dewey Akers, Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, Barbara Rommel, superintendent of David Douglas School District (speaking), and Commissioner Berta Feran, Portland Development Commission.

Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman greeted us when he came by for the ribbon cutting.

“As you know, East Portland is considered to be ‘park deficient’. So it is a great day when we’re dedicating a new park in outer Southeast Portland. Our goal is to have a neighborhood park within a half-mile of every resident.”

The park’s $642,000 development cost was funded substantially with PDC funds from Lents Urban Renewal, Saltzman noted.

With temperatures climbing on July 9, many of the children present were waiting to try out the water features. “On a hot day like this, the water feature is a great neighborhood attraction. The path and the lighting make it a great park for everyone, and provides increase safety in and around the park,” Saltzman added.

A touch of the controller, and kids enjoy a cool play area during the hot summer months.

As soon as the ribbon surrounding the water play area was cut by the dignitaries on hand‚ and kids from the elementary school’s Summer Academy‚ Fresh, cold Bull Run water bubbled, sprayed, and showered dozens of kids, who were more than ready for some wet summer fun.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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