Esplanade closure begins February 1st

City announces new director of Portland Parks and Recreation

Posted by on February 7th, 2019 at 1:41 pm

Adena Long.
(Photo: Commissioner Nick Fish’s office)

Portland Parks Commissioner Nick Fish has just announced Adena Long as new director of Portland Parks & Recreation.

Long replaces Mike Abbaté who resigned the position back in May.

According to Fish’s office, Long has over 20 years of experience with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and, “brings deep operational experience and a record of collaborative and innovative leadership.” Here’s more about Long:

A native New Yorker, Adena began her NYC Parks career as a seasonal Urban Park Ranger in 1997. She steadily moved up the ranks, and in 2010 became the first woman, and youngest-ever, to serve as Parks Borough Commissioner for Staten Island.

In 2018, she was recognized as manager of the year for New York City Parks. Adena has served as Deputy Commissioner for Urban Park Service and Public Programs since 2016.

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According to the NYC Parks website, Long is a native New Yorker who received her Bachelors degree from the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Connecticut and earned a Master of Science in Non-Profit Management from the Milano School of Management and Urban Policy at The New School.

The Director of Parks is an important position for advocates and all Portlanders who enjoy cycling. Parks manages places like Riverview Natural Area and Forest Park where off-road cycling access has been a hot-button issue. Also consider places like Gateway Green where Parks has put cycling front and center. Other areas where cycling intersects with the Parks bureau is on paths inside and adjacent to Parks-owned facilities like the Eastbank Esplanade, Waterfront Park, SW Terwiliger Blvd, the Springwater Corridor, and many others.

Long’s first day on the job will be February 19th. We look forward to getting to know more about Long and working with her to improve cycling in and around Portland parks. Welcome to the west coast Mrs. Long!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Brian February 7, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    I wonder if she had anything to do with any of the mtb trails in NYC.

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    • Dan A February 7, 2019 at 2:33 pm

      At a minimum, it’s comforting to know that she she’s familiar with how mountain bike trails can easily be crammed into small parks, to provide varied user experiences throughout a dense metropolis. Cunningham Park has 6.5 miles of trails (and 3 baseball diamonds) in less space than the Rose City Golf Course.

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      • Brian February 7, 2019 at 2:46 pm

        And a variety of experiences for riders of differing abilities, which is key IMO. I remember the days when there used to be a couple sections of Powell Butte that were tricky and had me excited to get back and try again, and kept me riding from my apartment in town.

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        • I wear many hats February 8, 2019 at 9:57 am

          Those opportunities for in town technical riding still exist in RVNA . . . until Parks destroys the existing trails.

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  • Daniel Greenstadt February 7, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    “Collaborative and innovative leadership” could be a badly needed breath of fresh air for Portland’s Parks Bureau. Director Long’s extensive urban, developed parks experience is sure to benefit us here in Portland, but with relatively large natural areas like Forest Park and River View Natural Area (RVNA) occupying such prominent places in the Bureau’s portfolio, I hope Director Long will also have, or develop, the skills to successfully oversee those resources as well.

    From a cycling perspective, Portland’s natural parks have suffered from many decades of mismanagement that have left Portland deeply out of step with best management practices around the country – including in New York where Director Long is coming from. I don’t know what role, if any, Director Long may have played in some of New York City’s urban natural parks, but there seem to be some NY parks that share striking similarities with places like Forest Park, RVNA or Powell Butte. One obvious difference, however, seems to be an embrace of singletrack cycling in New York while there is virtually none in Portland.

    You can bet that Portland’s usual cast of anti-bicycle, anti-sharing characters is already lining up to bend the new Director’s ear about the evils of off-road cycling, so I hope North West Trail Alliance and others are also ready to share the science, experience, and insights that come from many decades of successfully managing mountain biking throughout the region and the country.

    Let’s take the new Director – and staff – on a ride!

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    • I wear many hats February 8, 2019 at 8:59 am

      Hope is all we have. I would encourage a well rounded advocacy approach. Its hard to argue for equity when the dearth of trail access is primarily in upper middle class/ 1% neighborhoods. I’ve just come to the conclusion that the mountain bike hate will age out of the city. I welcome the new Parks Director with open arms and an open mind. We can all share our natural areas. Lets put the RECREATION back in Parks & Recreation.

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  • Lester Burnham February 7, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    Welcome Adena. Glad to see some experience from elsewhere. Things have been stale in Portland for a very long time.

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  • dwk February 7, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    If she had anything to do with the High line park (it was built about the time she was in the ranks), great pick and nice to get someone from a city that does Parks and bikes better than Portland….

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  • Joe Adamski February 7, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    Knowing Long, or her staff will be checking here on BP, it seems a good time to remind all in Parks they are the lead bureau in implementing the North Portland Willamette Greenway Trail. As the signature trail of the 2030 Bike Master Plan, it seems some serious catch up needs to happen.

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  • Steve Scarich February 9, 2019 at 11:49 am

    Given the massive budget deficit incurred under Fritz, this poor lady can do little but tread water (if she’s lucky).

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  • mark smith February 9, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    Steve Scarich
    Given the massive budget deficit incurred under Fritz, this poor lady can do little but tread water (if she’s lucky).Recommended 1

    The director’s entire job is to execute whatever tasks of the commissioner is in charge. It would be ideal of Fish would jettison most everything Fritz did..but you know. Probably not. Fritz is like wreckit Ralph wherever she goes.

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