Friends of Errol Heights November Work Party

Saturday, November 18, 9:00 AM-noon

Join Portland Parks & Recreation and the Friends of Errol Heights to complete important ecological enhancement projects at this little gem of a Park. Keep your eye out for beaver, ducks and other wildlife as you volunteer alongside other community members! Wear long thick pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes. Bring a water bottle, rain gear and sunhat. Instruction, tools, gloves, water, coffee/tea and snacks provided. Children welcome, and must be accompanied by an attentive adult.

Meet at: SE 52nd & SE Tenino Dr.  From Woodstock St., drive south on SE 52nd to SE Tenino Dr. (watch for a dirt road on your right, which is Tenino Dr.) Park along SE 52nd. Please be aware not to block neighbor’s driveways. From Johnson Creek Blvd., drive north on SE 45th Place, which turns into Harney Drive. Turn left onto SE 52nd and park near the next turnoff to Tenino Dr.

Tri-met bus: #75 will drop you off at SE 45th & Tenino Dr. Walk about 200 feet south on SE 45th and walk the trail through the natural area to the SE 52nd St. entrance (~ ½ mile).

Bike/Walk on the Springwater Corridor trail: www.PortlandOregon.gov/parks/springwatermap. Exit trail at the SE 45th St. entrance and then ride a short distance north and up the slight hill on Harney Drive. Turn left onto SE 52nd and left again onto SE Tenino Dr., which is a dirt road.

For more information contact Susan at: susan.hawes@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-6131 by Thursday, September 14. Day of event call Paul: 503-348-7681 or call/text Susan: 503-823-5937.

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Improve Beaver Habitat at Errol Heights Park

Event Link

Errol Heights Natural Area (Inner SE Portland)

Saturday, October 21, 9:00 AM-noon

Join Portland Parks & Recreation and the Friends of Errol Heights to complete important ecological enhancement projects at this little gem of a Park. Keep your eye out for beaver, ducks and other wildlife as you volunteer alongside other community members! Wear long thick pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes. Bring a water bottle, rain gear and sunhat. Instruction, tools, gloves, water, coffee/tea and snacks provided. Children welcome, and must be accompanied by an attentive adult.

Meet at: SE 52nd & SE Tenino Dr.  From Woodstock St., drive south on SE 52nd to SE Tenino Dr. (watch for a dirt road on your right, which is Tenino Dr.) Park along SE 52nd. Please be aware not to block neighbor’s driveways. From Johnson Creek Blvd., drive north on SE 45th Place, which turns into Harney Drive. Turn left onto SE 52nd and park near the next turnoff to Tenino Dr.

Tri-met bus: #75 will drop you off at SE 45th & Tenino Dr. Walk about 200 feet south on SE 45th and walk the trail through the natural area to the SE 52nd St. entrance (~ ½ mile).

Bike/Walk on the Springwater Corridor trail: www.PortlandOregon.gov/parks/springwatermap. Exit trail at the SE 45th St. entrance and then ride a short distance north and up the slight hill on Harney Drive. Turn left onto SE 52nd and left again onto SE Tenino Dr., which is a dirt road.

For more information contact Susan at: susan.hawes@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-6131 by 3:00pm on Friday, October 20. Day of event call Paul: 503-348-7681 or text/call Susan: 503-823-5937.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz announces funding towards enhancing Portland Parks & Recreation’s Errol Heights Park

System Development Charges from development revenue go towards realizing SE Portland park’s vision!

Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz announces she is designating $5.3 million in funding towards transforming Errol Heights Park into the hybrid natural area and developed park envisioned in the 2005 park Master Plan. Errol Heights Park comprises more than 14 acres between SE 45th to 52nd Avenues and from SE Harney Street to SE Tenino Street in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood. The Woodstock and Ardenwald/Johnson Creek neighborhoods are also adjacent to the south and west of the park.

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1,477 households are within a half-mile walking distance of Errol Heights Park, making this project one which significantly enhances parks services to area neighbors.

Funding for the next step in Errol Heights Park’s development comes not from General Fund Tax dollars, but from System Development Charges (SDCs).  These are one-time fees assessed on new development. SDCs help ensure that Portland’s quality of life keeps pace with our growing and changing city by providing additional parks and recreation facilities needed to accommodate growth. Park SDCs are restricted by law towards expanding capacity only (rather than to maintain or repair existing park facilities).

“I’m excited that Errol Heights Park will now have even more opportunities for recreation and relaxation,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “The park has a unique combination of assets, including a Portland community garden and a natural area. Moving forward on transforming a portion of the site into its long-desired developed park will enhance the neighborhood and the livability of our city.”

The current allocation of $5.3 million will allow Portland Parks & Recreation to realize the first phase of desired improvements to the park and natural area. While it is yet to be determined what improvements will be included in Phase 1 (pending upcoming public involvement with the community), some funds will be used to improve the streets around the park.

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Improvements in Phase 1 of the Errol Heights Master Plan may include:

  • Additional and improved paths
  • Enhancements to the natural area portion of the park
  • A grass lawn and new plantings
  • Street improvements
  • Amenities for play and/or sports
  • A picnic and/or gathering area
  • A Portland Loo or other restroom facility

Other phases to realize the park’s full vision may be possible in the future, depending on funding. Commissioner Fritz and PP&R aim to achieve the full vision of the Errol Heights Master Plan, but recognize that the full park development will need to be completed in phases. Public involvement and the design phase of the park will begin by summer, 2017.

“Portland is growing fast, and more than ever, our neighbors need places to play, to pause, places where we can connect with nature,” says Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté. “The vision of Errol Heights Park is special in that it will be a place for both active play and for relaxing in a natural setting. We thank our Commissioner-in-Charge, our PP&R staff, and the Friends groups and volunteers who help enhance our parks and natural areas.”

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Volunteer groups such as Friends of Errol Heights, Friends of Trees and Johnson Creek Watershed Council have been dedicated stewards of the Errol Heights property for many years. A whopping 150 members of these groups came out to plant native trees and shrubs in a newly acquired parcel of the Errol Heights natural area on November 19, 2016.

“Having volunteered countless hours at Errol Heights over the years, my neighbors and I are delighted that Commissioner Fritz and Portland Parks & Recreation are moving forward to help the Errol Heights Park become what we’ve envisioned as a community,” says Paul Ciri with the Friends of Errol Heights. “This funding is a tremendous start on the road to realizing the park’s unique vision, one which has a wide appeal for all park visitors. We extend our sincerest thanks to the City.”

 Challenges Remain

As Portland Parks & Recreation commits to new parks in communities where none currently exist – and to expanding and enhancing other parks – many existing parks are at a crossroads. For decades, PP&R operating funding has been cut or remained flat, forcing the Bureau to postpone rehabilitation and maintenance in every neighborhood throughout the City.  Despite the 2014 Parks Replacement Bond, passed by voters with overwhelming support, the list of needs across the PP&R system is huge, and grows every year that we don’t address it.  PP&R has anticipated unfunded maintenance needs totaling nearly $250 million over the next 10 years. The beautiful parks we love to visit are being held together by thousands of volunteers and wonderful employees going above and beyond the call of duty. PP&R has additional and unfunded growth needs of approximately $472 million over the next ten years.

Photos: Volunteers with Portland Parks & Recreation, Friends of Errol Heights, Friends of Trees and Johnson Creek Watershed Council planted native trees and shrubs in a newly acquired parcel of the Errol Heights natural area on November 19, 2016. Native plants support a diversity of insects and wildlife, and provide cleaner air and water for all Portlanders. Photos are courtesy of Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland, OR.

Street and Stormwater Improvements in Errol Heights

This is a brief update residents on the advocacy work that BDNA has been doing with the City around the proposed street and storm water improvements in the Errol Heights portion of our neighborhood. For folks who don’t know, this area is almost entirely unpaved and suffers from flooding due to “streets that turn into creeks” when it rains.

After leading a walking tour of the area with Commissioner Fish in April 2015, we learned that the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) allocated funding to conducting an engineering analysis to inform options about how storm water might be managed in the neighborhood. Commissioner Fish, who oversees BES, also informed residents and BDNA that he was committed to working with Mayor Hales and Commissioner Novick, who oversees transportation, on finding ways to make storm water and street improvements in Errol Heights more affordable than they might typically cost. Recently, we were pleased to learn that the Errol Heights project has been prioritized for funding by the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) Street by Street Program, which the Mayor and City Council have allocated $1M/year for to help pave unimproved roads throughout Portland. These funds would not cover all of the costs for a project in Errol Heights, but they could help to significantly reduce costs for homeowners. Additionally, BES had $1M funding for a storm water project downstream in Johnson Creek, but is now planning to use those resources to literally “go upstream” and look at how they can solve the problems at their source-in Errol Heights.

While storm water engineering designs are still underway, BDNA met with PBOT on Sept. 23, 2015 and received this update. Right now, storm water designs should be completed in early November, and at that point PBOT will then start to draw up preliminary designs for streets. After this, PBOT and BES will have a more firm understanding of the project’s expected costs. When those designs are finished in early 2016, PBOT and BES plan to host meetings with residents to explore the designs, and talk about real costs to homeowners, financing options, and city subsidies for the first time. They will also talk about resources that other City bureaus, like Parks and Recreation, will contribute to the project. At some point in the spring, neighbors in the area would have to determine whether or not they support the project. If it moves forward, final designs would probably take place throughout ’16 and construction would likely occur during the summer of ’17. If it doesn’t move forward, we assume the PBOT’s Street by Street funding would likely go to the many other projects waiting for funding around the City, and BES funding would go back down to a project in Johnson Creek.

While we wait for designs, BDNA is actively advocating with the City to find ways to make this project more affordable for homeowners. We are very pleased to learn that this project will be supported through the Street by Streets program, and that BES is also reallocating resources to this project to more effectively manage storm water problems at their source. We will be working hard to see if we can bring costs down further, and want to thank Mayor Hales, Commissioners Fish and Novick, and staff at BES and PBOT for working across bureaus to try and come up with creative solutions to these persistent problems. To residents in the area, good luck navigating the streets that turn into creeks this winter, and don’t forget to send photos of flooding to your elected officials!

– Jacob Sherman
BDNA Board Member