By Janet Goetze
For the Hollywood Star News
A $500,000 federal grant has moved the Cully neighborhood of Central Northeast Portland, one of the most diverse in the city, closer to development of a park.
The grant, secured with the assistance of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Or.), comes from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. It was awarded by the National Park Service, a part of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The 25-acre park is planned on a former landfill at Northeast 72nd Avenue, north of Killingsworth Street. Named the Thomas Cully Park, it is a project of several organizations in the Let Us Build Cully Park! Coalition. The lead group is Verde, a non-profit group bringing environmental investments to neighborhoods.
“Thomas Cully Park will transform a landfill into a place of healthy activity through sports and recreation,” said Mike Abbate, director of Portland Parks & Recreation.
The community coalition has raised more than $4.85 million for the park, including the recent federal grant, Abbate said. Other funds include a $473,000 grant from the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department and $1.25 million from city system development charges, paid by new construction of homes and businesses.
City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, in charge of the park bureau, said the 405 families in Cully don’t have sufficient access to parks or natural areas. She noted that the community coalition, which has worked with the parks bureau, has leveraged funds to make the new park possible.