‘Gateway Green’ plans presented for public review

Take a look at the design plans, offered at a recent open house, for this unique, outer East Portland park. If you haven’t commented, do so by March 11 …

At the IRCO Community Center in the Hazelwood neighborhood, participants take notes and make comments on proposed designs for completing Gateway Green.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The most recent plans for the Gateway Green recreational area were revealed at an open house held on February 24 at the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization Sokhom Tauch Community Center.

The park, not quite a mile long, is a long and narrow piece of property of about 25 acres, situated between I-84 and I-205 and bounded by the City of Maywood Park.

> To read an early progress report on the park, CLICK HERE

A Gateway Green co-founder, Linda Robinson, talks with guests about these new designs.

“The idea came up in 2005 – an idea that came up out of the Gateway Urban Renewal process from our Citizen Advisory Committee that we had at that time,” reminded Friends of Gateway Green (FoGG) president Linda Robinson

“It was clear that the Gateway area didn’t have anything unique, special, and different that could be a showcase and a destination,” Robinson told East Portland News at the open house.

Now, as the city enters the project development stage, Robinson grinned, “I feel really excited! We already have some of the bike paths put in, thanks to the crowdfunding effort, and foundation grants for those paths.”

The fundraising was successful, Robinson observed, due to the support of bicyclists. “And, by putting the bike trails in, we’ve developed several areas of the property, providing many ‘eyes on the park’, all through the park!”

Portland Parks & Recreation Project Manager Ross Swanson discusses the project with Greenworks Landscape Architect Gill Williams, pointing out one of the proposed features.

“We started a design process with an advisory committee about three months ago, and this open house is our ‘beta test’ for seeing how the public is going to react to the site,” said Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) Project Manager Ross Swanson. “After we gather information here, and through our online survey, we’ll pull together another advisory committee of both technical members and community members to develop a final plan we feel we can bring to the public.”

Overarching goals for the project, in satisfying their partnership with Metro, include enhancing the habitats at the site, he said. “And from the standpoint of Portland Parks, we’d like to add other amenities to complement the off-road bicycling; and, in doing so, to have the right balance of paths for walking, cross-country running, Natural Play Areas, and such.”

Here’s an illustration showing the design of the park – so far. PP&R image

So, while Gateway Green will remain a predominantly bicycling park, the committee has learned – from other similar parks – that a mix of uses is ideal. “We’re looking for the correct mix,” Swanson explained.

While access to the park is relatively easy for bicyclists, East Portland News pointed out that, for families and those walking into the area, no vehicle parking is available near the park.

Many people at the open house gather to discuss issues including amenities and accessibility.

“We have been working with our neighborhoods, organizations, and bureaucracies like ODOT, PBOT, and Union Pacific – to find better access, and it continues to be a long conversation.

“We’ve been working with Metro as well on various additional options,” Swanson revealed. “For the most part it’s a ‘Keep Portland Weird’ thing that we’re hearing – but, having to walk three quarters of a mile along I-205 is an issue.”

When the planning process is finished, the park will be closed – likely in October, and through the winter – as Phase II of the work takes place. The Parks Bureau expect it to reopen in June of 2019.

Now it’s time to have your say! First, learn more about Gateway Green by visiting their official website: CLICK HERE.

Then, participate in the brief online survey: CLICK HERE.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

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