Plans for Mill Park take shape

Find out what Mill Park neighbors are saying about the proposed development plans for their park in outer East Portland …

Unlike their sweltering summer meeting, neighbors now dress warmly, as they attend the Mill Park Community Gathering to comment on the development plans for their yet-undeveloped park.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Step by step, plans for the large undeveloped area behind, east of Mill Park Elementary School, on property owned by Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) that’s called Mill Park, are being created.

>> CLICK HERE to read about previous Mill Park Development community meetings.

PP&R hosted their last “Mill Park Community Gathering” the afternoon of November 30, in the covered play area behind the school, facing the park.

These attendees ponder the benefits of “Design Option 2, Oasis.

“About 40 people attended that Mill Park Community Gathering,” said PP&R Senior Community Engagement Coordinator Maija Spencer.

“We also held an online ZOOM Community Gathering in partnership with the Division Midway Alliance on November 16, utilizing the ‘interpretation channels’ feature, and we offered interpretation in seven languages: Arabic, Chinese, Karen, Nepali, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese,” pointed out Spencer.

Showing what turned out to be the top choice, “Design Option 3, Paseo” is PP&R Senior Community Engagement Coordinator Maija Spencer.

Between the two meetings, they received a total of 90 comments online and via paper comment forms, Spencer told East Portland News.

Since these last meetings, their design firm – Meyer Reed – is reviewing all the community input and working on the “final preferred design” which will be shared with PP&R staff, the Mill Park Project Advisory Committee (MPPAC), and the broader community, for feedback in early 2022.

Folks prefer a ‘Paseo’
“Through the in-person events, online meetings, and the online surveys, and with input from the MPPAC, we heard a strong preference for Option #3, ‘Paseo’; so, that is the theme being moved forward for the final design,” Spencer revealed.

By the way, the Spanish word Paseo indicates a place for “a leisurely walk or stroll” or “to promenade”.

“People liked how it creates two open areas, which provides more opportunities for different activities – and they liked that the central promenade creates a safe route to the school from SE 122nd Avenue,” pointed out Spencer.

After perusing the exhibits, and talking with project designers, neighbors are encouraged to take a survey.

“We also heard that the community prioritizes more large trees and shade opportunities, given the extreme heat this summer and the lack of tree canopy and natural areas in East Portland,” she relayed. “Other priorities included gathering/picnic areas, a playground and splash pad, and the community garden; but parking is a low priority for most, especially if at the expense of other park elements.”

>> To see a PDF document that details the Comment Summery Report from the last round of meetings: CLICK HERE.

Mill Park Neighborhood Association President Trevor Hopper completes a project survey, before heading off to work.

“Now that I’ve seen some development in the choices we have, I really like the changes to the original Master Plan for Mill Park,” commented Mill Park Neighborhood Association President Trevor Hopper, making it clear he was just speaking for himself.

“It seems many people, including me, prefer the third option, the Paseo, in which everything goes through the middle of the park,” Hopper added. “It seems like it will raise the energy [by] having many of the features more consolidated – and, at the same time, keeping some of the noise levels away from the neighbors who live near the park.”

Timeline Update
The final phase of engagement at which PP&R and their design consultants will share the preferred design for final feedback by the community will be in March 2022.

“Depending on current public health guidelines at that time, this will likely be similar to past engagement, with online/virtual and in-person outdoor options for participating,” Spencer hypothesized.

Following this:
      Spring 2022 – Spring 2023 – Design Development, Construction Documents, Bidding, and Permitting

Spring 2023 – Summer 2024 – Construction

Learn more about the Mill Park Development Project by visiting the official PP&R webpage: CLICK HERE.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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