Neighbors mull Parklane Park development

It looks like this outer East Portland park, at long last, will be built-out soon. Check the project plans, and give your opinion, before February 27

Welcoming folks to the Parklane Park “Design Options Open House”, recently held in the Centennial neighborhood, is PP&R staffer Eder Katembwe.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

For more than a decade, neighbors in the Centennial Community Group neighborhood have longed for the 25-acre Parklane Park to be developed. The property is located at SE 155th Avenue and Main Street, next to Parklane and Oliver Elementary Schools.

With hope in their hearts for the Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) Master Plan that was adopted in 2009, many folks came out a year later on a sunny afternoon in 2010 to tour the 20 acres of fenced-off land.

In May 2010, neighbors were allowed beyond “the fence” to tour the large, undeveloped area of Parklane Park. That was almost ten years ago. East Portland News archive image

> To read “BEHIND LOCKED GATES: Outer East Portland neighbors dream about expanding Parklane Park”, our report of that excursion, CLICK HERE.

Over the years, thanks to the prodding and wrangling of Parks Commissioners Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz, Parklane Park saw some improvements – including a new play structure and a “Portland Loo”. At that point, kids could play there – and then go to the bathroom afterward. That was about it.

Neighbors were hoping for more. The hold-up? Funding.

But now, thanks to new financial support from City of Portland’s “System Development Charges”, Parklane Park will indeed be built out, according to PP&R  Community Engagement Coordinator Maija Spencer, speaking at a “Design Options Open House” for the project on February 12 at Parklane Elementary School.

Telling about the process for developing Parklane Park is PP&R Community Engagement Coordinator Maija Spencer.

“Tonight we’re showing three different ‘design concepts’ for Parklane Park – now adding the area that was once a rock quarry and which has long been fenced off from public use,” Spencer told East Portland News.

Those three concepts are, she said:

  • Central Green – creating a cultural space can host large programming, like concerts and Movies in the Park, to bring people together.
  • Active Rooms – concentrating more on high activity and sports, such as courts for soccer, tennis, and Futsal (which is like soccer, but played on a hard surface).
  • Exploration and Discovery – providing more of a “nature focus”, with environmental education areas; a place where people can come and explore natural areas with their families.

At this open house, attendees browse among exhibits, and ask PP&R staffers about the amenities that are being proposed for the park.

“We’re not asking neighbors to vote for one concept to the exclusion of others. Instead, we’re requesting that people tell us what they like best about each concept – and those elements will be brought together to create a tailored new design,” Spencer explained.

Longtime Centennial neighbors Silas Miller and Ron Clemenson say they support efforts to develop “their” local city park.

Speaking both as a Centennial neighbor since 1968, and as an active member of the Parklane Park Advisory Committee, Ron Clemenson said, “I think we have pretty good plans to develop the property. It’s been a long time, waiting for the park to develop; and now, it’s going to become a very nice, all-use, and all-purpose park for all of our outer East Portland neighbors.”

Matthew Wood, who said he has a young son – and whose property backs up to the park – said he’s looking forward to the “creative play area” coming to the park.

“I like the idea of presenting the three plans, and I’m hoping for a nice blend of components from each, and am really encouraged by what I’ve seen,” Wood said.

Some of the comments left at the open house included requests for:

  • A prominent driveway entrance
  • Enough parking capacity when holding large events
  • A stage for community events and concerts
  • A meandering pathway
  • Connections from surrounding neighborhoods for bicycles
  • Adding more picnic tables

Both on the comment boards, and with paper surveys, open house attendees express their wishes and desires for Parklane Park.

Comment by February 27
If you couldn’t make it to the open house, take a moment and go online and review the exhibits that were presented there [CLICK HERE to open a PDF document]. Then, comment, online, by CLICKING HERE.

In April, Spencer said, they plan to have a “Preferred Option” put together. “Then, we’ll check in with the public to make sure we’re on the right track.”

When the plans are approved, they will be further refined, after which construction documents will be developed, and the Parks Department will begin the permitting process. “We expect construction to start in the summer of 2021, and we anticipate it being done in the fall of 2022,” Spencer remarked.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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