Tag: PP&R

SE 89th and Taylor LID’s Burden and Benefit

On October 12th, Portland City Council approved a declaration of intent to form the SE 89th Ave and Taylor St Local Improvement District (LID). This proposed infrastructure project would rebuild 450 feet of SE 89th Avenue adjacent to Berrydale Park, adding curbs and sidewalks to this partially paved roadway. The LID would also add sidewalks on the south side of SE Taylor Street from 92nd Avenue to 98th Avenue. Although unanimously approved, the Council members expressed deep concerns regarding the financial burden placed on the adjacent homeowners, some of whom testified against this LID’s formation.

Local Improvement Districts form when a majority of property owners in an area elect to pool private funds with the City of Portland, sharing the cost of infrastructure construction. Landowners commonly use LIDs to improve unpaved streets and reconstruct paved roads not built to current engineering standards. Although SE 89th Avenue has paved travel lanes, it’s bordered by curbless gravel shoulders, lacks stormwater management, and has no sidewalks. Andrew Aebi, Portland’s Local Improvement District Administrator, worked with Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty to propose this LID formation ahead of Berrydale Park’s renovation in the Spring of 2024. Portland Parks & Recreation owns the majority of street frontages included in this LID and will shoulder the bulk of its costs.

Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) chose to pursue this expanded infrastructure improvement project based on lessons learned from the missed opportunities of past projects. In 2007, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) built Holly Farm Park in a neighborhood of SW Portland without sidewalks, consistent curbs, or stormwater management. Crews constructed the missing infrastructure around the Park’s frontage and reconstructed the road to the center of the street. However, the properties across from the Park still lack sidewalks and stormwater management. Aebi pointed to this project as a turning point in the City. The lost opportunity to improve conditions for adjacent residents was glaring. PP&R now collaborates with the other Portland bureaus to include infrastructure upgrades during Park construction and encourages LID formations so area residents can take advantage of discounted upgrades made cheaper by piggybacking on funded projects.

At last Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Aebi explained that regardless of a LID’s formation, the Berrydale Park project will include curb and sidewalk construction on PP&R property. However, as is now standard procedure, City staff proposed the SE 89th Ave and Taylor St Local Improvement District to offer cost savings to adjacent property owners. If this LID is approved by City Council on November 30th, residences involved in the LID could pay substantially less for the infrastructure improvements. “We have structured this LID so that Parks pays the lion’s share of LID Costs,” said Aebi. The savings stem from an 800,000 commitment to the LID from PP&R and other City contributions intended to defer the financial burden placed on homeowners. The City will cover all roadway reconstruction costs and only ask residents to pay for the curbs and sidewalks built in front of their property.

Even with all the expected cost savings for property owners, the City is seeking a significant sum. If City Council enacts the LID as presented, 14 property owners will each contribute close to $24,000. Payment is due after LID work is completed, with the option to pay over time. Financed over 20 years, people would pay $165 per month for the infrastructure added to their property. Although not an exorbitant amount, people on fixed incomes could face hardship due to the forced monthly payment. Commissioner Dan Ryan expressed reluctance to approve the LID, fearing that this financial imposition could jeopardize retired people’s ability to age in place.

Looking west on SE Taylor showing where the sidewalk ends at SE 89th

In addition to the homeowners opposed to the LID, City Council heard from three testifiers in favor of the project. However, those in support of the LID were not members of the planned improvement district. Instead, they all lived near Berrydale Park and planned to use the sidewalk infrastructure to navigate the neighborhood. One speaker, who uses a wheelchair, mentioned the challenges of moving around his street due to the lack of curb ramps and sidewalks. His testimony highlighted the shared responsibility for infrastructure in a community and how delaying these updates will negatively impact other people on the street.

City staff will keep working with affected property owners and try to find options that everyone can accept. Andrew Aebi anticipates returning to Council in November with two different proposals for a LID in this area. He intends to present an option that will fully modernize the public infrastructure around the Park’s property and another that creates fewer enhancements but still builds the pedestrian access needed for parkgoers and schoolchildren walking to this destination. City Council will hear this item next month and likely vote on the LID formation in December. 

Portland Parks Tree Giveaway

This Saturday, Portland Parks & Recreation’s (PP&R) Urban Forestry department will provide free trees to residents. The 6th Annual Yard Tree Giveaway program continues on October 15th, with two other dates on the 22nd and November 5th. Montavilla residents can collect trees from the PP&R Maintenance Yard at Mt Tabor Park on the November date. Trees are intended for planting on private property within the Portland City limits. Advance registration is required to secure up to two trees.

Residents have 21 approved tree types to choose from when registering. The assortment emphasizes large-growing, native, and evergreen trees because they are most beneficial to the environment. People can select the best time to pick up their trees during registration. PP&R staff will provide mulch and a watering bucket to help residents care for the newly planted tree.

Since the first Yard Tree Giveaway event in 2017, 5,000 trees have joined Portland’s urban canopy. This program increases tree cover across the City and makes trees more accessible. Funding support for this giveaway comes from the Parks Local Option Levy, and the program mainly targets residences in North and East Portland. Distribution focuses on neighborhoods with the highest temperatures and the fewest trees. Nearly all areas known as “heat islands” are located east of the Willamette River.

The distribution of free yard trees is a fundamental part of the City’s efforts to grow and maintain Portland’s tree canopy. Trees provide habitat for wildlife, shade for urban areas, and cleaner air. PP&R stresses the importance of Portland’s urban forest for people’s well-being, noting its physical, mental, emotional, and psychological benefits to neighbors.

People can register for their free tree in English and Spanish at portland.gov/free-yard-trees or call 503-823-4963 (Para ayuda en Español. llamé 503-939-0536). Complimentary delivery is available to homes in the St. Johns, Portsmouth, Sunderland, Cully, Centennial, Glenfair, and Sumner neighborhoods.


North Portland – Farragut Park
Saturday, October 15, 2022
8:30am – 1pm (pickup time determined upon advance registration)

Southeast Portland – The Gates Park Property
Saturday, October 22
8:30am – 1pm (pickup time determined upon advance registration)

Southeast Portland – Mt Tabor Community Garden (Enter at SE 64th Avenue & SE Lincoln Street)
Saturday, November 5, 2022
8:30am – 1pm (pickup time determined upon advance registration)

Berrydale Park’s Skatepark Design Reveal June 29

The third and final Berrydale Park Open House Survey is available online through July 13th.


Article first published June 24th, 2022.

On Wednesday, June 29th, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) staff will present the final design for the new Berrydale skatepark at an open house. Residents are invited to attend from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the southeast corner of Berrydale Park, at 9004 SE Taylor Street. At the event, PP&R will continue soliciting community feedback on new playground design options included in the Berrydale Park Improvement Project.

Image courtesy Portland of Parks & Recreation. Image does not represent the final design

Next week’s gathering is the third and final open house for the $3.75 million renovation project. The proposed budget doubled over the last year, with Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio increasing allocated funds to $3.0 million from an original $1.5 million budget. The bureau will source that money from System Development Charges (SDC) and not the City’s general budget. PP&R’s planned upgrades will significantly enhance the recreational amenities at the 66-year-old City park. The proposed upgrades will create a new skatepark facility, new pathways, new lighting, street improvements, and a new playground.

This open house is the last time the public can significantly influence the future appearance of the Berrydale Park Improvement Project. After a full year of community engagement, the project is now at the end of the design phase. Beginning in Fall 2022, City engineers will develop the construction documentation needed to secure permits and hire contractors. Construction crews will break ground on the project in the Spring of 2024, with the new park amenities opening in 2025.

Staff Needed for Public Pool Reopening

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) intends to open all seven outdoor pools on June 22nd, including the Montavilla Outdoor Pool at 8219 NE Glisan Street. They will join the four year-round indoor pools already open to the public. Due to ongoing recruitment and hiring struggles, PP&R will only offer aquatics classes at outdoor pools this summer. Based on data from the parks department, this focus will best meet expected demand with reduced staff.

Registration for this summer’s classes and pool activities begins on Monday, June 27th. People are encouraged to signup online at the PP&R website. However, in-person or phone registration is still available. Spaces could fill up soon after registration opens. Staff members will have a waitlist for those who could not secure their preferred offering. Information about classes and other pool activities is available on the PP&R website.

As part of the Parks Local Option Levy, people of color, seniors, teens, households experiencing poverty, immigrants and refugees, and people living with disabilities will have early access to registration. June 20th, eligible community members can inquire about early registration through the Customer Service Center at 503-823-2525. PP&R provides information on the advanced registration process to local community organizations that share those resources with their community members. Interested organizations can email parks.recreation@portlandoregon.gov to register as partners or to learn more.

For the general public seeking classes, registration for programs running from July 25th through September 4th start on June 27th at 12:30 p.m. Registration for September 5th through October 2nd sessions occur on August 8th at 12:30 p.m. Staffing shortages could prolong the registration process over the phone or at a PP&R facility. Parks staff recommend online registration for the best experience.

The reduction in applicants for open Portland Parks department positions mirrors a nationwide employment trend. In a survey by the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), 88% of park and recreation agencies indicated they are not fully staffed for lifeguards this summer season. PP&R is actively recruiting staff for the summer. They offer lifeguard certification, swim instructor training, and water fitness instructor training classes year-round to prepare and train staff. People interested in joining the park’s team should view employment opportunities and apply online.

The staffing shortages will limit some instructor-led activities at Portland’s four indoor pools. However, Montavilla’s only aquatic recreation site should run at full capacity this year. Although the Montavilla pool is only rain-filled at the moment, it will spring to life by the month’s end. Then the community can return for another summer filled with pool activities.

Berrydale Park Open House April 13th

Update: Images from the presentation are available below and the survey link is now online.


Original article published April 8th, 2022.

Next Wednesday, Portland Parks & Recreations (PP&R) will host the second open house for the Berrydale Park Improvement Project. The $3.75 million projects will significantly enhance park amenities and ensure the space remains relevant to Portlanders of all ages. The proposed upgrades will create a new skatepark facility, new pathways, new lighting, street improvements, and a new playground.

The project’s budget doubled over the last year, with Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio increasing allocated funds to $3.0 million from an original $1.5 million budget. The bureau will source that money from System Development Charges (SDC) and not the City’s general budget. Frontage improvement work is paid for through the PP&R Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition program. It will allocate $650K to address ADA access for the park. PP&R’s maintenance fund will cover new playground equipment costing $100k.

The additional funding ensures the construction of a new skateboarding area, plus items identified by the community as priorities during the July 2021 public engagement session. Now PP&R staff want to present design options for the new park amenities. The public can participate in two ways. Designers are hosting an in-person event at Berrydale Park near SE 92nd Avenue and Salmon Street on April 13 from 4 PM until 6 PM. People unable to join the open house can view visuals from the live event and complete a brief survey online. The survey will remain open through Sunday, April 24.

Residents who participate in next week’s community engagement will help PP&R shape the future of Berrydale Park. The updates planned will draw in new park users and wake up the somewhat sleepy public space on SE 92nd Avenue. The outdoor event on the 13th will occur regardless of the weather, and forecasts call for rain. Plan to dress accordingly or watch the Berrydale Park Improvement Project website for the online presentation and survey.

Image from Google Maps

Apartment Fire on Burnside

Just before noon today, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) responded to a fire in the Hartzog & Bristol Apartments at 9205 E Burnside Street. The fire started inside a second-story unit with limited spread to other residences. The two-alarm fire is now under control.

Observers noticed smoke coming from the roof of an apartment in the complex and notified 911 around 11:46 AM on November 16th. By 12:04 PM, fire crews closed NE 92nd Place from E Burnside to NE Everett. No injuries from the fire were reported. Crews are cleaning up now, and some residents have already returned to their apartments in the affected building. The quick response of PF&R limited the fire’s spread and minimized property loss. 

Picnic Shelter’s Funding on Hold

Last month, crews removed the aging picnic shelter at Montavilla Park and prepared the ground for new grass turf. Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) planned on replacing the structure with a modern 2,000 square foot open-walled shelter. However, a department-wide budgetary shortfall will postpone that work.

Preceding the demolition work, PP&R updated the Montavilla Park Picnic Shelter project webpage announcing the pending deconstruction of the structure while noting the lack of funds for its replacement. Park staff will plant grass seed on the worksite and open the space for general public use in the interim.

PP&R Public Information Officer, Mark Ross, confirmed the project’s indefinite delay. However, he emphasized that staff would continue to look for opportunities to revive this project in future budgets.

Proposed Montavilla Park Picnic Shelter, currently on hold.

Currently, PP&R has a $450 million backlog in unfunded major maintenance needs across the Parks system. Years of budget cuts and an ineffective funding structure reduced the Department’s ability to address needed repairs. “Portland Parks & Recreation has long been underfunded and has an aging but beloved parks system,” explained Ross. “PP&R is focusing our efforts on addressing the most critical repairs and identified service gaps, with equity at the forefront.”

To address the Parks department’s structural funding gaps identified in the 2019 budget process, PP&R staff worked with Portland City Council to develop the Sustainable Future Initiative. It included the directive to seek alternative funding sources to align operations with community expectations while not increasing the City’s budget. In November of 2020, voters approved a 5-year local option levy to maintain neighborhood parks, improve access and safety, provide equitable recreation programs, and proactively care for its natural areas and urban forest.

Levy funds saved many programs jeopardized by the monetary shortfall and kept park services available across the City. However, those funds had no impact on the maintenance backlog. “The Parks Local Option Levy is an operating levy, not a bond for capital projects,” explains Ross. Consequently, many projects are on hold, waiting for funding from other sources. With little money for these projects, PP&R must select projects based on specific criteria that address the most significant need. “These projects are ranked for equity, likelihood of failure, and consequence of failure,” said Ross.

With Montavilla’s decaying shelter demolished and no longer a danger, the project’s position could slip back in the queue based on the PP&R priorities. However, the project is not canceled and remains active. Funding for this project could arrive through several sources at any time. Until then, residents should not anticipate seeing significant changes at Montavilla Park, aside from the construction fences coming down and a little extra grass to enjoy.

Construction Begins at Mt Tabor Park

This week, workers erected a construction fence around half of the Long Block in Mt Tabor Park. Located on SE Lincoln Street, the enclosed space will become a plant storage area. Nearby, crews will construct a new greenhouse along SE 64th Ave. These two small projects are part of a sizeable multi-phase development now underway.

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) staff started this work as part of the Mt Tabor Central Maintenance Yard Project, breaking ground on a decades-long effort to modernize the central maintenance facility at Mt Tabor Park. The facilities improvement project took form in 2014 with a patchwork of funding. However, planning began years before with the Mt Tabor Central Maintenance Yard & Nursery Master Plan, finalized in 2009. Pandemic closures and significant construction cost increases pushed back this project until now.

construction fences around the Long Block on SE Lincoln Street

The Mt Tabor Yard serves as a central dispatch for PP&R maintenance and nursery services across the city. Over 140 maintenance employees work from this location. Most of the project’s construction will occur within the existing yard’s boundaries. However, Phase 1 expands into park space that previously served the public. The Long Block is located from SE 60th to 64th Avenues, between SE Harrison and Lincoln Streets. This 600 foot-long flat grassy field, often a site for group athletic activities, is now half its original length and separated from other park amenities.

The public space lost is relatively minimal compared to the enhancements planned around the worksite. Portlanders will gain increased access to Mt Tabor Park via a new paved multimodal pathway connecting SE Division Street and SE 64th Avenue. The gravel east edge of SE 64th Ave between SE Sherman and SE Lincoln Streets will gain a new curb and sidewalk, fully connecting paved access to the park from Division Street. Around the site, PP&R will plant native landscaping with over 100 new trees. Plans also include a public art installation in partnership with the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC).

Work will progress over the next two years, with an expected completion date in the Summer of 2023. Users of this area of Mt Tabor Park should anticipate increased activity and some traffic disruption during the project’s construction. When completed, PP&R will be one step closer to having a modern maintenance facility to serve Portland’s numerous green spaces more efficiently.

PP&R illustration from the Mt Tabor Central Maintenance Yard & Nursery Master Plan

Park Picnic Shelter Demolished

Last week, demolition crews removed the picnic shelter and wading pool at Montavilla Park. Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) decommissioned both structures years ago due to health and safety concerns. This recent work clears the way for constructing a new open-air building of similar size. Construction crews expect to begin that project later this Fall

Funds for removal and reconstruction of the picnic shelter only recently became available, thanks to voters approving Measure 26-213 last November. City staff granted permits for this project in October of 2020, but pandemic-related restraints pushed back the project. Even with new levy funds secured earlier this year, PP&R could not schedule work immediately due to the substantial backlog of other work ahead of this one. However, now that work had begun, the site should transform quickly.

The deconstructed picnic shelter’s “H” configuration will be replaced by an 86-foot by 28-foot reticular covering. The new structure will feature a metal roof and have exposed wood rafters. Open gable ends, and a 23-foot high cathedral ceiling will provide ample natural light into the shelter. A stark contrast to the dark low-slung building now demolished. When completed, the area around the new structure will contain more green space and less pavement.

Plan detail courtesy City of Portland

Expect to see construction crews onsite in the following months building the replacement picnic shelter. If PP&R can keep to their schedule, users of the park will have covered space available during the cold and damp winter season.


Photos in this article by Weston Ruter

New Park Picnic Shelter in 2021

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.

Old shelter and decommissioned wading pool. Image courtesy of Google Maps

Montavilla News does not endorse individual candidates or ballot measures