Grab a picnic basket and join the Hosford-Abernethy Neighborhood as we tranform a part of SE 19th Ave. & Division Street into a â€œparklette.â€
From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 17, join us and others around the world for PARK(ing) Day, an annual, event that inspires city dwellers everywhere to transform parking spots into temporary parks for the public good. Find out more about this worldwide event at http://parkingday.org/.
Why a “parklette” on SE 19th Ave.?
For the past few years cities like San Francisco have sought ways to utilize vacant urban spaces and transform them into a place where people can recreate or visit with their neighbors. Some call these plazas, or green streets, or pocket parks. As Portland develops, HAND recognizes the need for our neighborhood to find public-owned spots that can also be utilzied in this way. At SE 19th Ave. & Division Street, HAND sees an unique space in that the city owns it outright (they bought it in 1902 for $1) but hasn’t done much more than let it become an unregulated parking lot.
How can it happen?
For the last year and a half, HAND has worked to find a way to create a public open space at SE 19th Ave. – a 200-foot long dead end street that is under utilized and ripe with potential. Read more about it here: http://handpdx.org/pocket-park/
Unfortunately, there is no real process for doing this. The land is owned and managed by Portland’s Bureau of Transportation and the only way they have for permitting a change to the right of way (one that is uniquely owned outright by the city and not an easement) is to have the neighborhood submit a Linear Park Permit request — a process used only once before by neighbors and proved unsuccessful.
The linear park permit request process relies on the four adjacent property owners to submit “letters of consent” but there is no specific stipulation on what weight or merit these letters of consent have.
Last year, after multiple meetings, conversations and efforts by neighborhood volunteers, all four property owners submitted their letters of consent, with 2 consenting, one neutral and one against the idea of SE 19th Ave. becoming a park because of their concerns that it would limit property value or development options for their properties, recently up-zoned to commercial mixed-use.
Our hope is that PBOT or the city can come to some sort of consensus or decision regarding SE 19th Ave. so that this space can be resolved — either as a better-maintained dead end street, community garden or parking lot that is managed by the city.
If you would like to get involved in our efforts, join us at a board meeting (HAND meets the third Tuesday of each month at St. Philip Neri in the Paulist Center) our next one is Tuesday, Sept. 21 from 7 – 9 p.m. Or contact Amy Lewin at firstname.lastname@example.org.