Portland Parks and Recreation announced Thursday that it will build two new parks in outer East Portland. The parks are in two neighborhoods where green spaces are sparse.
Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz made public plans for the two parks at the site of one of the new developments. Beech Park is in outer northeast Portland.
“Together these parks represent $12.4 million investment in East Portland and they will serve more than 1,790 households — so nearly 1800 households — that don’t currently have a park within walking distance will have one after this,” Fritz said.
The new park sites are both east of 82nd Avenue. According to the city, two out of every five households in outer East Portland do not have easy access to a park within a fifteen minute walk of their home.
Commissioner Fritz chose the sites not only on location, but also the number of families each park could serve. Beech Park, located at 129th and Fremont will include a community garden, play and picnic areas, and sports fields. The new Gateway Park at Northeast 104th and Halsey will feature picnic areas and a plaza for community events like farmer’s markets.
“It’s a place for kids to exercise and run around and just enjoy each other,” says Annette Stanhope, who lives near the new Beech Park. She’s excited to have more green space where her toddler can play. But she sees another benefit of developing Beech Park, which is currently owned by the city but is an undeveloped area.
“It’s also a good deterrent to crime because you’ll have more of the general public coming to the property as opposed to whomever hanging out at a vacant lot.”
Currently, there are nearly 12,000 acres of parks in Portland. A little more than 1,700 of those park acres — or just about 15 percent — are located east of 82nd Avenue. The two parks will add twenty acres of developed park land and will cost the city twelve point four million dollars. Funds for the two parks came from city development fees.
The city has plans to develop more parks as funds become available.
Portland resident Patty Hicks says she’s disappointed that Parklane Park in outer southeast Portland wasn’t chosen in this round. She says Parklane is too small, and doesn’t have amenities like bathrooms.
“It’s not like we’re asking for the moon,” Hicks says. “I do know that it’s going to cost a fair amount of money. We would love to have that space useable. That would really help to reduce the burden that’s on the current park right now and a lot more people would be able to use the space.”
The city says there are plans for more parks and improvements in the works.
Sources for this story came to OPB via the Public Insight Network. You can share your experience and your insights with our newsroom at opb.org/publicinsight.