The following is paraphrased from an April 24th press release from Portland Parks and Recreation:
Due to safety concerns and after years of close monitoring, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) has closed the wooden play structure and wooden stage at the Couch Park Playground. The closure comes after PP&R staff and an independent engineering firm, G2 Consultants, determined that the structural stability of the wood playground structure (approximately 40 years old) and stage are at risk. Other, newer play equipment at Couch Park is not affected and will remain open. Though PP&R has stated we want to replace the play structure, no time frame nor funding are available at this point.
“We simply will not take any chances when it comes to the safety of the children who play at our playgrounds,” says Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté. “Our staff has been evaluating the wooden structure at Couch Park for years. We’ve had to remove several pieces of play equipment in that time frame, bit by bit; it’s the reality of decades-old, wooden playground attractions in a rainy climate. We know the wooden play structure has been a beloved, popular attraction for children and families. I know people will be disappointed, but I hope they’ll all agree that safety is, and should be, our bureau’s top priority.”
“The fact that we need to close a showpiece element in a playground where hundreds of children play illustrates the grave need for more money to maintain our system,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “Portland Parks & Recreation is grossly underfunded. Despite the long-acknowledged challenges to our system, we have made PP&R a nationally-recognized parks bureau thanks to amazing staff, valuable public-private partnerships, friends and partner groups. But such efforts can only go so far. This playground structure closure shows that we’ve reached our limit.”
PP&R owns and manages the playground. The land on which the playground sits is PPS property, specifically the adjacent Metropolitan Learning Center. The consultant report lists several concerns, including:
• Poor overall structural condition; some structural elements are coming apart, others contain dry rot
• Severe rotting of wood in parts of the structure’s flooring
• Presence of termites
• Wood and steel railings severely deteriorated due to weather
On several occasions staff removed pieces and portions of the wood structure – as well as other play equipment in the Couch Park playground – as they fell into disrepair. PP&R crews have done their best to repair and maintain the structure, but it is no longer possible to consider it a safe place to play.
“This is disappointing news, especially for the young students of MLC,” says Trent Thelen, a Couch Park advocate and parent of an MLC student. “The play area is valuable for all visitors – kids and parents alike – to engage in free, unfettered play. However, we look forward to working with Portland Parks & Recreation and hopefully, neighborhood partners, on efforts to revitalize the playground. We look with optimism towards a revitalized Couch Park as an improved open space for the next generation of park users.”
Though PP&R has stated they want to replace the play structure, no time frame nor funding are available at this point. Building a new playground will require community involvement and input. A meeting was held on April 29th at the MLC School to consider the needs of the children, interim play spaces and to organize a course of action to restore the structure since funds for a new structure are not available.
Major repairs and equipment replacement must come out of Portland Parks & Recreation’s General Fund, allocated by the City, rather than System Development Charges (SDCs). SDCs are revenue from construction development, restricted to expanding capacity only. SDCs cannot be used for other purposes such as the Couch Park playground.
Based on PP&R’s current Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), the annual funding gap for repairing/renovation of existing assets is $36.5M. This means PP&R has $36.5M of unfunded maintenance projects planned each year for the next ten years; a ten-year total of$365M of unfunded maintenance projects. The Couch Park play structure has been and remains on PP&R’s capital improvements list because Children need a safe, accessible and enjoyable play structure. PP&R notes that no project will go forward without community input.
Neighborhood Spring Clean-Up!
Join Friendly Streets and the Northwest District Association (NWDA) and help cleanup up the neighborhood just in time for spring. Volunteers are needed to help pick up litter, remove graffiti and collect abandoned grocery carts throughout the Northwest neighborhoods. The cleanup will be held on Saturday, April 26 from 9-11am. It will begin at the Northwest Community Garden on NW 16th between Johnson and Kearney. Meet there for light snacks, instructions, maps, and all necessary supplies. The cleanup will end at the Lucky Labrador Brewery, 1945 NW Quimby Street for free pizza and raffle prizes.
Please dress for the weather. The event will be held rain or shine and is open to all ages.
To learn more and register, visit either website for more information and registration:
This cleanup is organized by Friendly Streets and the NWDA and is one of the many SOLVE IT Earth Day events. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
March meeting minutes are at: NWDA Safetyminutes 3 11 14
The City’s Bureau of Transportation has advised that leaves will be swept in Leaf District NW 1 on March 14th. NW 1 is the area encompassed by Burnside, 21st, Marshall and 16th. The flyer advises that Parking restrictions will be in place and enforced. If the past is any indication, there will be signs on the streets about two days before.This is “catch-up” sweeping of leaves that were frozen when this was scheduled in December.
SW 1 (other side of Burnside) is scheduled for 12 March. The circular mentions sweeping gravel both days on Lovejoy from NW 24 to NW 25th, continuing up Cornell up to the first tunnel.
Page has sent along this agenda for tonight’s (February 11th) Safety and Livability Committee meeting, 6 to 7 pm:
1. Meet Jenni Pullen, Portland Police Liaiison to NWNW and discuss crime issues and solutions.
2. Prepare for the NWDA Meet and Greet event scheduled for 13 February.
The location is:
Legacy Good Samaritan
Wilcox Building, Conference Room B
1015 NW 22nd Ave.
This is the basement conference room accessed from the parking lot – next to the dumpsters!
‘See you there!
Phil on behalf of Page
Greetings from the PP&R City Nature, Environmental Education staff! We are excited to share information about our upcoming nature classes in all corners of Portland for children & youth beginning Jan 27th, and continuing in 4-week sessions through late spring!
Lil’ Nature Kids is a popular program for children ages 3-6 where children learn about ecology of the Pacific NW through stories, songs, exploration and play. Our Preschool Naturalists are highly trained and experienced educators who love children and nature alike! Classes are built using a creative curriculum of games, exploration, hiking and imaginative play, and the nature topic for each day is woven throughout subtly but effectively. (Plus we ALWAYS make time to stomp in puddles and look closely at worms and smell flowers along the way!) These classes help children learn how to have fun in any kind of weather, introduce them to new grown-ups who are trust-worthy and caring, and help them gain knowledge of nature concepts and processes in an engaging way.
Nature School and Nature Recess classes are for children & youth a bit older who still crave that infectious nature connection. Nature School is a bit more academic than Lil’ Nature Kids and Nature Recess is pretty much what you would expect – a way to give children that experience many of us had growing up, but with smart & educated adults around who can actually interpret the land, the birds, the plants and the animals in the midst of play. Learn more at: Nuts about Nature Flyer Email WIN2014 .
Classes in YOUR neighborhood this Winter!
Winter Session (Week of Feb 24 – March 21): Tuesdays @ Hoyt Arboretum (Nature School)
Spring Sessions (Mar 31 – May 23): Classes will be listed on our website in February! Registration will begin March 3rd! Tuesdays @ Hoyt Arboretum (Nature School); Wednesdays @ Hoyt Arboretum (Lil’ Nature Kids)
Details of our Winter classes can be found on the Environmental Education “Programs for Early Childhood” web page: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/62972
Chrissy Larson (a.k.a. Teacher Balsam)
With the arrival of 2014, we might be thinking of ways to improve our properties, our neighborhoods and the environment. With this in mind, we call your attention to a street tree planting program, described below and in more detail with: email@example.comNW – Goose Hollow letter 2013-14 (draft) offered by the City’s Bureau of Environmental Services. While our community is pretty well “forested”, there are many holes to be filled in. Consider adding a tree to your street frontage or pass this to a friend or neighbor who might be interested. Note that the deadline for signing up is January 10th.
Best wishes for a healthy and “green” new year!
NWDA Board President
December 23rd, 2013
City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services is offering free street trees to properties in the Northwest District and Goose Hollow neighborhoods.
Street trees offer many benefits to you and your community. Tree canopy captures stormwater, calms traffic, cleans the air, and reduces the urban heat island effect. Trees also increase property resale value and help make greener and safer places to live and work. You can be part of a large-scale effort to restore our city’s urban forest and to enhance watershed health. Join your neighbors and local businesses by signing up for trees!
Tree types and locations will take into consideration sight lines along with various setbacks and clearances for proper spacing. Environmental Services will select hardy, urban-tolerant trees that fit the space available. The goal is Right Tree, Right Place.
January 10th, sign-up deadline
Jan 13th – 24th, street tree inspections, property owner follow-up
Jan 31st, opt out deadline
early Feb, tree list finalized, trees ordered, trees assigned to properties
late Feb - mid March, tree planting
To learn more about this special offer to have free street trees planted adjacent to your property, please call or email the tree program today. The deadline to sign up is Friday, January 10th. You can cancel later on but if you don’t sign up now, you miss the opportunity to see your tree potential.
Environmental Services Urban Tree Canopy Program
The Safety and Livability Committee has been reconstituted and is again meeting on the second Tuesday of the month, starting with August 13th at Good Samaritan Hospital, Wilcox Building B, 1015 NW 22nd Avenue. The agenda is as follows:
The next meeting of this committee will be on September 10th. Bring your ideas or concerns about committee livability to this group. All are welcome!
News Release from: Portland Police Bureau PORTLAND POLICE INVESTIGATING AN
ATTEMPTED ATM THEFT IN NORTHWEST PORTLAND
Sunday May 5, 2013, at 6:18 a.m., Central Precinct officers
responded to the report of a truck ramming at ATM in front of the Selco
Community Credit Union, located at 2465 Northwest Thurman Street.
Officers arrived in the area and found the suspect vehicle abandoned a few
blocks away. Significant damage was done to the front of the credit union as
well as the ATM.
Officers spoke to a person near where the truck was abandoned who told
police that a person tried to get into their truck but ran away when
Officers searched the neighborhood but did not locate anyone matching the
suspects description, which was a white or Hispanic male in all dark
It is not known at this point if this attempted ATM theft is connected to a
similar incident last week on Southeast Belmont Street.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Portland
Police at CrimeTips@PortlandOregon.gov