(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
Gateway Green, a 38 acre parcel in east Portland that’s slated to become a bike park (along with other things), came away as the big winner in Metro’s “Nature in Neighborhoods” grant program. $5.2 million in awards were announced last week and Gateway Green received all of the $1 million they had requested — an award larger than any of the other 9 projects.
The grant is just the latest boost for a project that first came into focus in 2008 when neighborhood activist Linda Robinson and Gateway area real estate developer Ted Gilbert partnered up to push a vision for the currently neglected parcel of land between I-84 and I-205.
Robinson, who’s now chair of the board of the non-profit Friends of Gateway Green, says while she’s thrilled with the Metro grant, the money isn’t in their bank account yet. The Nature in Neighborhoods program requires a 2-to-1 local match. That means Robinson and Gateway Green proponents have to come up with $2 million of their own money in order to accept Metro’s $1 million. The good news, says Robinson, is that they can count existing grants and contributions, volunteer time, and in-kind donations from the past two years toward that total.
A crowd-funding campaign in fall of 2013 raised over $120,000. When all added up, Robinson estimates they’ve probably raised somewhere on the order of about $400,000. “That gives us a good head start on raising the match,” she shared last week.
Robinson also says that the official transfer of the Gateway Green property from ODOT to Portland Parks & Recreation (a necessary step to moving forward) is expected next month. There will be a celebration event at the site after the Portland City Council votes on the transfer.
Once the remainder of the matching funds are secured, the $3 million will go toward construction of the park. Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities to volunteer and donate.