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Pocket Park @ SE 19th & Division Overview (for .pdf)

Pocket Park Project @ SE 19th & Division
The Hosford-Abernethy Neighborhood Development Association wants to create a public park for the neighborhood along an undeveloped stretch of street named SE 19th Ave. at SE Division Street.

The property is currently owned by the City of Portland and managed by the Bureau of Transportation. According to Multnomah County records, the City acquired this land as a as “quit-claim deed” on March 20, 1902 from the Estate of Mary Tibbetts (view: Copy of 1902 Deed to City of Portland). As part of the deed agreement, the property was to be used as a street, named “Avalon”. But in 1933, the City of Portland changed the name to SE 19th Ave. The street has no destination and is now used informally as private parking for neighbors and mulch pile storage, transient camps and “wild” land, further south.

Why a Park?
The Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood is currently undergoing major changes in its development and population. On top of this change, the City is also working on many projects that could ultimately affect how we get around the neighborhood and how we use the land in our neighborhood. Because of this change, HAND has identified five relevant projects currently in place by the City and how a new park at SE 19th Ave. could ultimately help these projects meet their goals and in turn improve the neighborhood.

7 Corners Study
In a recent study of  “7 Corners” by Portland Planning and Sustainability, experts and neighbors looked at ways to redesign this busy intersection for cars, bikes and pedestrians. They identified ways to improve livability and integrate place-making opportunities for the neighborhood. One of the locations identified by this group as a place of opportunity was the undeveloped street, SE 19th Ave. @ Division.

Bureau of Environmental Services – Tabor to the River Project
The Bureau of Environmental Services “Tabor to the River, Brooklyn Creek Basin Program” runs along SE Division and this stretch of proposed park space on SE 19th Ave. Initial conversations with project leaders have identified several opportunities to improve storm water management in this space. It could in turn improve watershed for the overall “Tabor” project along SE Division. With this project, it would be great to alleviate street runoff by implementing natural landscape or other storm water management techniques and potentially remove the impervious pavement at this site – in turn, helping to further the development of Division as a “green street.”

Division Green Street / Main Street Project
In February 2006, the City adopted a re-zoning of the neighborhood along SE Division Street – as part of the “Division Green Street Main Street Project Study.” The project was “a collaborative effort between the City and community to improve the livability and economic vitality of the SE Division Street corridor over the next 20 years.” It included re-zoning of several areas along Division, including lots adjacent to this proposed “park” location, which were up-zoned to “CS” or Commercial Storefront. This means future development could be built higher and denser from property line to property line. Thus an open space adjacent to this could provide a nice relief to the density.

Division Streetscape and Street Reconstruction Project
Several HAND board members are serving as members of the Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) on PBOT’s Division Streetscape and Street Reconstruction Project. As involved neighbors, we are realizing the need for more public green spaces in the neighborhood, especially along SE Division Street. One of the CAC’s goals is to identify places open and available for everyone in the neighborhood to enjoy. This seems especially important as it pertains to the “7 Corners” area. As the project design process moves forward for Division Street, we believe it is important to have a plan in place for developing a park at SE 19th Ave. Getting permission now would create multiple opportunities to coordinate design & place-making continuity with this project and others.

2020 Parks Vision
According to the Portland Parks & Recreation’s 2020 Parks Vision, “By 2020, an estimated 65,000 more people will live in Portland. Our park system will be tremendously challenged to keep pace with this growth – especially as open land and green spaces disappear due to development. Needs are changing -”our population is aging and becoming more diverse. The financial needs to protect our parks are vast. We cannot continue with business as usual. We must prepare for the future.” The plan goes on to identify ways to improve the city by acquiring new parks land and to “create public plazas in each regional and town center and “green connections” along each designated main street in the city.” This space at SE 19th Ave. seems like a perfect opportunity to help parks attain their goals.

Neighborhood Support
As part of the process, we are gathering feedback from neighbors and are meeting with the four adjacent property owners. Their concerns are being addressed as we work with all neighbors on design ideas and identifying priorities. Our goal is to eliminate any foreseeable issues, as we move forward with a plan.

community input sketch.aiOn Saturday, June 20th, 2009, we also hosted a block party and Community Awareness Day at this space on SE 19th Ave. to collect feedback from others in the neighborhood.

Pocket Park Committee member Ethan Timm compiled some of the comments from the table top sketch into a file to reflect all of the comments made. You can view a large copy of that file here.

Our initial results show a majority of neighbors and business owners approve of a park for this space and would like to help the neighborhood move forward with this project.

We are a committed group of volunteers who want to help the City meet its core goals of improving livability, creating green streets, building public plazas and diversifying urban areas with places we can all enjoy. The time is now for the City to help us save this land and preserve it as a permitted park so that the thousands of people who live here can enjoy it as a natural space for generations to come. We hope you will support us in this effort!

Stay in touch by contacting Amy Lewin via email: amy@handpdx.org

Southeast Uplift neighborhood coalition is the official fiscal sponsor of this project and is a 501(c) 3 non-profit, tax ID #93-069072. Send donations to: HAND Pocket Park, c/o Southeast Uplift, 3534 SE Main, Portland, OR 97214.