New Argay Terrace park building starts

This project has had several names. But now, find out what has been referred to as ‘Beech Park’ in outer East Portland will actually be called, and see its groundbreaking …

Gathering in the covered play area at Shaver Elementary School, neighbors and officials are eager to begin the groundbreaking ceremony for “Luuwit View Park”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Although the “Beech Park Master Plan” was created in 2008 – for a spot adjacent to Shaver Elementary School, in the outer East Portland Argay Terrace neighborhood – the groundbreaking was put off until June 4, 2016.

During that time, committee members refined the plan, hoped for funding, and settled on a new name: “Loowit View Park”. At the June 4 groundbreaking ceremony, it was revealed that the park’s name changed again, to “Luuwit View Park”.

“Luuwit” is the Chinook Wawa name for Mt. Saint Helens, clearly visible from the slope that rises about the Columbia River.

Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté tells about outer East Portland’s newest park.

“I think a good way of describing this new park is a ‘bowtie shaped’ property,” said Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté.

“The ‘knot’ of the bowtie would be right here, at Shaver Elementary School,” Abbaté told East Portland News.

“This is a park that will serve the neighborhood and a great way,” he added. “The design of this park takes advantage of that unusual shape, to create some beautiful and highly functional spaces in the park.”

Abbaté recalled how the Rossi and Garre families farmed here for about a century, before selling the land to the City of Portland.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales says the city continues to invest in building parks in East Portland.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales came to the groundbreaking, standing in for Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, the Parks Commissioner.

“We’re investing a lot in our parks here in outer East Portland,” Hales told East Portland News. “We’re really proud of this park; it will be a wonderful addition to the Parks system here, where we need more park access.”

Rose Hill, member of the Oneida Tribe offers a “smudge” blessing.

The formal portion of the groundbreaking event featured a Native American blessing, and speeches by many of those involved in the park’s planning. Some 100 people attended the event, shaded from the sun, in the heat of the 95° day.

Speaking eloquently about the new park is Parkrose High’s Jamari Gilbert.

Last of the speakers was Parkrose High School senior Jamari Gilbert.

“I’m very happy to speak on behalf of the youth community for the new park being built here. I know that it will be a new creative park that the youth will be able to use now, and in future generations. I think it will be used to its fullest potential.”

Neighbors, volunteers, and governmental officials dig in to break ground for Luuwit View Park.

The park will feature large grassy areas, an accessible playground, a fog garden with summertime water mists, a youth sports field, a full-size basketball court, and a covered “teen area” – with climbing structure, ping pong tables, a group seating area, and a skate park.

The $8.4 million park will features accessible picnic areas, a shelter, a restroom, foot and bike paths, parking, community gardens, and a fenced off-leash dog area. A multi-use paved trail will circle around the entire site, and there will be public art.

When completed, this park will be a cooling oasis on hot summer days. Rendering are courtesy of Studio

Luuwit View Park is expected to open in the fall of 2017, and serve about 1,000 households that don’t otherwise have ready access to a park.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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