In a nod to its success and a commitment to create local off-road riding opportunities, the City of Portland has committed another $1 million to Gateway Green.
“Now that it is evident how warmly Portland has embraced the unique park, moving forward with further planning is most definitely warranted.”
— Ross Swanson, Portland Parks
Built on a 25-acre parcel of formerly abandoned land sandwiched between interstates 84 and 205 in east Portland, the park opened in June 2017. Cycling trails, a small pump track, and minimal signage were part of Phase I construction. This new infusion of cash will come from system development charges (SDCs) and will allow the city to make significant upgrades.
City Commissioner Amanda Fritz approved the SDCs as one of her last actions of Parks Bureau oversight (the bureau is now run by Commissioner Nick Fish). According to Fritz’s office, “The new SDC funding will allow for further improvements identified during PP&R’s 2017/18 community engagement process including park entrances, habitat restoration, utilities, natural play areas, and more and improved trails suitable to multiple ages and skill levels.”
Parks Project Manager Ross Swanson says the plan is to take the park beyond what they refer to as its “beta” stage and get it closer to the full vision developed by the city and its nonprofit partners Friends of Gateway Green and Northwest Trail Alliance.
“Now that it is evident how warmly Portland has reacted to, used, and embraced the unique park and location, moving forward with further planning is most definitely warranted,” Swanson shared with us via email yesterday. “The park as it is now demonstrates that the site and uses are successful and a regional draw as planned and hoped for; Gateway Green is a boon for the area but its appeal reaches far beyond the immediate neighborhood.”
The impact and popularity of Gateway Green is all the more impressive given that — unlike other regional parks — it has no on-site parking or direct access for auto users, no electricity (which makes events difficult), no water, and no restrooms. There are also no formal entrances or options for people with disabilities.
Swanson says his team has produced 30% design plans and cost estimates in order to flesh out what can be done with the new funding. Here’s the list he’s working with so far (which is “ripe for change as we advance the design”.)
– Formal entrances at both the north and south ends of the park.
– Bike racks and bike bars throughout the park
– Central Plaza area we referred to as ‘the Hub’ during planning
– Three location for natural play features in the park
– Small lawn area for gatherings and events
– Benches / tables
– A Portland Loo restroom
– A water fountain
– Electrical services so events can be held on site
– Park signage and trail wayfinding
– Bike repair station
– Existing trail enhancement for folks on bikes
– New separate trails just for people on foot (hiking, jogging)
– An adaptive cycling trail
– An ADA-accessible route through the park
– Habitat enhancements and invasives removal
More specifically, Swanson says a new trail is coming to the south slope of the park that will create a loop experience. The existing skills area will get improved drainage and a major influx of upkeep. If the budget allows, Parks wants to add another (larger!) pump track and an intermediate jump line (the current one is expert-level).
So far $4.3 million and countless volunteer hours have been invested into Gateway Green including: $2 million in City Parks SDC funding in 2016; a $1 million Metro grant in 2014; and $1.3 million in donations raised by advocacy groups.
The park will close for construction this winter/spring and will re-open in summer. The Parks Bureau expects the full build-out to be completed by 2020.
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