Neighbors welcome new Glenhaven Park playground

Take a look, and you’ll see why kids – of all ages – are loving this new outer East Portland playground …

As a rainstorm passes over Glenhaven Park, the returning sunshine invites kids to play on the new playground equipment installed at their Roseway neighborhood park over the summer.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

With some of it dating back to the 1970s, Glenhaven Park, just north of James Madison High School, along NE 82nd Avenue of Roses, has had some of the oldest play equipment in the Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) system Some of it so old, it has been removed, over time, due to lead contamination.

But, on October 19, City officials and Roseway neighbors gathered to dedicate a new abilities-inclusive playground, ADA pathway improvements, and public art, at the park.

One of the dozens of guests who enjoyed a cupcake or two was Jack Billeter.

“We held a series of meetings, starting in January 2018, to get community input during the design process. In the first one, we learned both what people liked about the park, and what they’d like to see [come to the park],” said PP&R Community Engagement Coordinator Maija Spencer.

“In the second meeting, we presented three different design options for neighbors’ feedback. At the final meeting, we did a final review and got feedback before we moved on to the construction documents and finishing the design,” Spencer told East Portland News.

Even with rain showers sweeping through the area that morning, kids eagerly played in, on, and around the approximately 8,000 square foot playground.

Happy to see so many delighted families enjoying the playground are PP&R Project Manager Gary Datka, and Community Engagement Coordinator Maija Spencer.

“We were able to incorporate into the design of this playground what we heard from neighbors: To make it a place that is fun, safe, and challenging for both younger and older kids,” remarked the construction supervisor, PP&R Project Manager Gary Datka.

Construction started in May, and concluded just a week before the grand opening, commented Datka.

Many kids take the “Climbing Wall” challenge at the playground.

“For example, the ‘Climbing Wall’ is challenging for older kids, and the ‘Wavy Walk’ is ideal for little kids,” Datka pointed out. “And, the expanded play area has unitary safety surfacing, so kids in wheelchairs and mobility devices can use the playground – all the way to the top of the slide – it’s all ADA accessible.”

Standing with the five pieces of commissioned public art she created is the sculptor/artist, Christine Clark. This one she named “Community”.

In addition enjoying the playground equipment, kids and adults were admiring and playing on and around the five pieces of welded bronze that the project’s artist, Christine Clark, named collectively “Sustenance”.

“It’s just amazing,” commented PP&R Director Adena Long. “It’s a testament to the benefits of the 2014 Parks Bond. Today we see a good vibe coming from all the families here today, even in the pouring rain – playing together and having a good time.

“We are pleased that this park now offers a variety of play experiences at multiple levels of accessibility that were not previously offered in the neighborhood,” Long added.

Roseway Neighborhood Association Chair Esther Arellano Harlow gives Gabriel, riding on a newly-installed swing, a push.

The project came in “on budget” at $1.7 million, with funds coming from both the Parks Bund and from System Development Charges

Portland Park Rangers, Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, Roseway Neighborhood Association Chair Esther Arellano Harlow, and Adena Long are here joined by neighborhood children to celebrate the opening of Glenhaven Parks’s new Bond-funded playground. PP&R image by Ken Rumbaugh

For more information, see the project’s official webpage: CLICK HERE.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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