Two million dollars in system development charges (one-time fees from new development), a $1 million 2014 Metro grant, and $1.3 million in public and private cash and in-kind donations will help fund Portland’s newest park. Dubbed Gateway Green, 25 acres of formerly unused land at the junction of I-205 and I-84 will be graced with an expanded hiking trails network, a small natural play area, habitat restoration, off-road biking opportunities and improved access.
“I’m pleased to be part of this unique partnership between two local governments and one dedicated nonprofit, Friends of Gateway Green,” said Portland parks commissioner Amanda Fritz. “Gateway Green will be a regional destination in park-deficient east Portland, and a working example of how active recreation can be balanced with natural restoration and preservation.”
The idea for developing the site of the former Rocky Butte Jail, according to parks director Mike Abbaté, came from Friends of Gateway Green. “They raised the necessary funds to get the project off the ground, and now Gateway Green will be a source of pride for a diverse and fast-growing part of Portland, helping us improve equity in parks services, and is a shining example of smart land use.” Abbaté thanked Metro, Friends of Gateway Green and all who contributed to this laudable effort.
Friends of Gateway Green’s Ted Gilbert was equally appreciative. “From the inspiration to the start of construction, it has taken 10 years. Without the belief, commitment and leadership of the city of Portland and Portland Parks & Recreation, it would never have come together.”
Friends of Gateway Green recently completed an ambitious crowdfunding campaign to round out fundraising efforts, allowing for the construction of the first off-road cycling trails at Gateway Green this winter. In collaboration with Friends of Gateway Green, the Northwest Trail Alliance hosted a work party to beautify the park, pulling ivy and digging new trails on Saturday, February 11.
The public is invited to meet the park’s developers and builders, and to check out trails already created. Those interested in attending may RSVP.
Portland Parks & Recreation credited “thousands of volunteers and wonderful employees going above and beyond the call of duty” with maintaining “the beautiful parks we love to visit.” According to their research, the parks department said Portland has additional and unfunded growth needs of approximately $472 million over the next ten years.