UPDATE – Portland Parks & Recreation created a Berrydale Park Skatepark Project page, featuring information about the proposed new amenities and a tentative schedule for community involvement with the planning process.
Yesterday Portland Parks & Recreation announced substantial investments in several neighborhood parks throughout the city. As part of that proposal, Montavilla’s Berrydale Park will gain a new skateboarding area with potentially more enhancements planned around the project. The new skatepark will join eight others in the Portland Parks system.
Last week, Early Assistance application 21-038776 outlined the potential upgrades coming to Berrydale Park beyond the approved skatepark. Mark Ross with Portland Parks & Recreation explained that the skateboarding area is the primary addition to the park, but other improvements could soon follow. “In the future, contingent on available funding, additional park amenities may include improved access, new site furnishings such as lighting, drinking fountains, benches, trash cans, and signage.”
With a total project budget of two million dollars ($2M), this work represents the most significant investment at this park within recent memory. Commissioner Carmen Rubio allocated one and a half million dollars ($1.5M) in System Development Charges (SDC) to this project, adding to the existing five-hundred-thousand dollars ($500K) in SDC funding. The added funds now allow for project planning to begin and ensures the completion of the skateboarding area.
Improvement to Portland parks is in line with city-wide efforts to curb a trend of violence and crime growing within the city. At a recent neighborhood meeting, Commissioner Mingus Mapps explained how after-school activities and the return of community programs outweigh increased policing in his plans to reduce crime. “If you are out doing something constructive, then you are not out doing something destructive.” Commissioner Mapps’ plan does not directly rely on park resources. However, these long-term investments by Parks & Recreation will create constructive outlets for the community, reinforcing other programs aimed at changing behavior.
The Berrydale Park project is scheduled to complete construction sometime in spring 2024. Within the coming months and years, Parks & Recreation staff will create proposed designs and engage with the community around this project. Look for opportunities to get involved when that phase of planning begins.
Pre-construction work passed another milestone last week for the new picnic shelter at Montavilla Park. Demolition of the old shelter and wading pool will make way for the updated picnic space.
“Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) staff are making good progress in planning and have secured the needed permits. PP&R will be moving the design forward to be ready for bidding, likely in 2021.” Said Mark Ross, a Media Relations representative with Portland Parks & Recreation.
Issued October 7th, Permit 20-160791 outlines the creation of a “new picnic shelter and expansion of asphalt drive north of structure.” This summer, Portland issued two demolition permits for the old shelter and wading pool. PP&R will not replace the former wading pool.
Budgetary constraints on PP&R could challenge the construction of projects like the new picnic shelter. However, Ross believes that funding will be available for this project when construction starts in 2021. “At that time, we hope for the necessary amount of project funding and staff capacity.”
On the ballot this year is Measure 26-213. It seeks to create a five-year tax levy that would provide PP&R with approximately $48 million each year. Funding from Measure 26-213 taxes would not necessarily pay for this upgrade to Montavilla Park but could ensure that additional citywide cuts do not dramatically affect the PP&R budget. Budget cuts could push this project to a later date.
Outdoor spaces are more important than ever when we look at our long-term recovery from COVID-19. Creating usable, safe spaces in the fresh air will help in the immediate future. Additionally, investing in long term improvements to our parks will secure their viability if economic circumstances cause future budgetary shortfalls. With luck, Montavilla residents will be enjoying a new picnic shelter in the warmer months of 2021.
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Two demolition permits for Montavilla Park were recently submitted. Application 20-159559 and 20-159551 seek to demolish the park’s wading pool and picnic structure. Currently, these structures are fenced off.
Mark Ross, Media Relations with Portland Parks & Recreation, explained that this work is in preparation for a replacement picnic structure. “Portland Parks & Recreation must demolish and remove the existing shelter which had become unstable. The bureau plans to replace it with a similarly sized shelter. The wading pool is not functional and cannot be used per State regulations which went into effect some years ago.”
The picnic structure is visible from NE Glisan Street and is adjacent to the children’s play area. This corner of Montavilla Park is dark and uninviting in its current condition. The demolition should clear the way for needed upgrades to the park.
Top photo is courtesy of Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland, OR.
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