Festivities mark ‘Gateway Discovery Park’ opening

Find out why neighbors laude the opening of this outer East Portland park. And, discover which other park’s development has now been funded …

Located in Hazelwood, just across the street from the Parkrose Heights neighborhood, visitors are captivated by “The Fifth Wind” – a sculpture by Horatio Hun-Yan Law that marks the entrance to the plaza of the new Gateway Discovery Park.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

On the beautiful summery morning of August 4, elected officials and dignitaries came for the grand opening of Gateway Discovery Park, the new Portland Parks & Recreation creation at NE Halsey Street and 106th Avenue.

Kiley Lewis climbs on an object with help of her dad, Phillip Lewis, in front of the park area which immediately attracted kids to the unusual, inviting terrain and the unique play equipment at this new $10.2 million park.

Kids couldn’t wait until the ceremonial ribbon was cut; they and their parents descended gleefully on the many amenities, including in inclusive play area for kids of all abilities, thanks to efforts led by Harpers Playground,

The new park offers a nature-based play area, a large grassy lawn, a plaza for performances and events, a splash pad for water play, a skateboard area, a picnic area, and many gathering spaces – on this 3.2 acres site.

All smiles about the new park, close to her “park-less” neighborhood, is Woodland Park Neighborhood Association Chair Alesia Reese.

“Because our neighborhood, Woodland Park, has no park – that’s one of the reasons I’ve supported the building of this park from the very beginning, and given it my full support,” remarked the neighborhood association’s Chair, Alesia Reese.

“But then, I was a big supporter of JJ North’s Chuckwagon Restaurant, too, when it was here in this location!” Reese quipped.

“Now that I see it, is just beautiful,” Alesia Reese told East Portland News. “And, I think that this park is going to help bring together our neighbors, as well as welcome others from outside our area – that’s important, as we work to revitalize our area of outer East Portland.”

Trying out the water pump in the “Nature Play Area” is Henry Radkins.

“This is so cool, and it is a really big day for us,” grinned Hazelwood neighborhood resident, and coordinator of the East Portland Parks Coalition, Linda Robinson. “The fact that, as soon as they took down the fences, families ‘found’ the park and were playing here – that’s a good sign that this will be a well-loved, well-used Park.”

“The execution of this park is simply brilliant,” says Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz.

This park has not been an “overnight success”, but instead, it represents the work of those committed to building it for many years past, commented Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who was the Parks Commissioner at the time of the park’s grand opening.

>> Read “‘Preferred Alternative’ revealed for proposed Gateway park”, published in 2010, about the development of this park: CLICK HERE.

“We had an extensive process for coming up with some of its details; and we had supportive advocacy from the community who gave valuable input,” acknowledged Fritz.

“What we’ve heard from people about this park so far is that they’re absolutely thrilled. Seeing this beautiful park, with everyone having good time – I challenge anyone to look around this park and not smile!” exclaimed Fritz.

From the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, “Arete” performs traditional dances.

“I love this new park, right here in our backyard,” exclaims GABA President Nidal Kahl.

“The new Gateway Discovery Park is a definite ‘win’ for our Gateway neighborhood business district,” commented Gateway Area Business Association President Nidal Kahl, and owner of the Furniture Plus store, located a couple of blocks west of the park on NE Halsey Street.

This park is designed to accommodate festivals, fairs and community events.

“The fact we have such a large investment here in the core of our district is a monumental accomplishment, thanks to the efforts of the neighborhood associations, business association, and community members,” commended Kahl. “It serves as a catalytic investment in our district, which we believe will encourage more people to ‘shop local’ – as well as attract people from outside the district.”

During the inaugural program, Commissioner Fritz told the gathered crowd, “When I first saw the completed park, I looked around and I didn’t know what some of these things were for; but apparently, the children know exactly how to play with everything that’s here at this lovely park!”

With a snip of the scissors, Gateway Discovery Park is officially dedicated.

After a consecration by a Native American representative, officials gathered together with a group of kids; and, with a snip of a ceremonial ribbon, the park was finally officially opened.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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