By Ann Ereline
Face-painting, a few rounds of the classic “Simon Says,” and a tasty spread from Casa Del Sol (14324 SE Division St.) tempted young and young at heart to ignore a cool, rainy June 9 to get down to a serious matter: what do Southeast residents want to see in two of three new parks being planned for our area.
“It’s a good crowd” at the Mill Park site, tucked behind Mill Park Elementary on Southeast 117th Avenue, was the shared assessment of Maya Agarwal, Jaime English and Hun Taing. The three women are key participants in park planning: Agarwal is project manager for the Mill and Midland projects; English is managing the site at Southeast 150th and Division; and Taing is engaged in all of the projects as the community engagement coordinator.
This “primary election” was organized by GreenWorks, a downtown-based landscape architecture and environmental design firm. Instead of ballots, attendees got stickers – five each for Mill and Midland – to place on colorful photos of possible park uses, from nature walks and study to soccer and skateboarding. Soccer won in a landslide.
Will we get a soccer field, skateboard park or community garden? “We’ll see,” said Ben Johnson of GreenWorks. Johnson is the project manager for Mill and Midland parks. Jennifer d’Avanzo, a designer on these projects, and Gill Williams, a principal of the firm, also chatted with Southeast Portlanders at the “Party in the Park.”
The three sites in our parks-deficient area are championed by City Commissioner Amanda Fritz. But getting from the “Party in the Park” to actual public parks is possibly a years-long process. Three more gatherings will be staged to engage residents. Strong concept proposals will be presented in the fall and, once selected, financing will need to be secured.
It’s a marathon, but Southeast Portland is off to a good start. For more information about these three projects, you may visit https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/69569 and https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/69563.