Following the disruptive summer of 2015 in the North Park Blocks (NPB), there has been a good deal of discussion and citizen activism to assure that there is not a repeat occurrence this coming summer, or ever again.
Residents and businesses adjacent to NPB gathered their forces late last summer to engage the city in efforts to promote greater activation of the park and stronger police enforcement of criminal behavior. The Pearl District Neighborhood Association Livability and Safety Committee (LSC) joined the effort and developed an activation work plan to bring more events and activity to the park.
Members of the NPB Consortium and LSC recently met with the Parks and Recreation Bureau’s top leadership and representatives from the Mayor’s and Commissioner Fritz’ offices to discuss ways to better program the North Park Blocks. There are challenges to holding some events due to fragile grass and tree roots being damaged, but many ideas were discussed including a greater long term vision for the park.
While the major focus of this meeting was on short term solutions, the NPB/LSC group asked the Parks Bureau to take a longer term, holistic view of the park that would coordinate with the upcoming upgrade of the playground, the City’s Green Loop Plan, the anticipated Flanders street bike bridge and the post office site.
The NPB/LSC vision for the North Park Blocks in 2016 and beyond should embody stimulation, movement, beauty and contemplation. The central location, a major connector between China Town, the Pearl and Downtown creating a cultural infusion where residents, students, tourists and all Portlanders come to enjoy communal interaction, commerce and reflection, bustling and brewing with creativity and joy.
Both city staff and NPB/LSC agreed to holding ongoing meetings to continue the conversation with the next meeting anticipated in early April.
Image credit: Wikipedia – North Park Blocks, Portland, Oregon (2012) by Another Believer