Year 2 of the Covid pandemic continued to test us all. Nonetheless, in 2021, Friends of Pier Park made great progress for our park and our
neighborhood on a number of fronts.
The most significant accomplishments relate to three grants awarded to us, totaling $16,000. Our recently elected Vice Chairperson, Stephanie LaMonica, is primarily responsible for all three grants. She did the outreach and research, wrote the applications, established strong partnerships with multiple contributing organizations, did Public Relations outreach to get us on the News, and, in collaboration with PP&R management and staff, is managing the execution and completion of the related work projects.
Portland Garden Club
A grant from the Portland Garden Club was used to establish a Woodland Garden between intersecting pathways near the playground and covered picnic area. Three large beds were established and populated with a mix of mostly native plants, along with some non-natives suitable for growth under the surrounding tall tree canopy. With funds raised during our year-end fund drive, although not a requirement of the grant, we have essentially matched the funds awarded to us, and can finish the project this year.
Portland Environmental Services
A grant from the Portland Environmental Services Community Watershed Stewardship Program was used to enhance Pier Park’s forest understory. Simultaneously, three new partner organizations — the Confluence Project, the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, and Sitton Elementary School — plus continuing partner, Portland Tennis and Education, are engaging with our neighborhood youth, to educate them on the significance of the forest understory, as well as impart its relationship to living cultures and the ecology of the Columbia River system through Indigenous educators.
With the above two grants, we purchased and planted over 900 trees, shrubs, and ground cover perennials in the park. We had a class for all students at Sitton Elementary and then had the Sitton 3rd graders and youth from Portland Tennis and Education assist with planting.
Portland Parks Foundation
The third grant we received was from Portland Parks Foundation. This enabled us to purchase insurance which was a prerequisite to apply for the other two grants and will allow us to host other events to continue our community engagement. It also has begun the conversation of how we might attract more diverse Friends’ members and park users to better represent our neighborhood and community at large.
Beyond the projects related to the grants, we had other wins for the park in 2021.
Pickleball and Futsal
In early summer, the PP&R maintenance team painted four pickleball courts and two futsal courts onto the former tennis court surface. This was the result of surveys we did in 2020 on how to repurpose the space. Since then, the number of pickleball players using the courts has continued to steadily grow. We expect to see that trend continue in 2022.
Fallen Sequoia Arts Benches
Our neighborhood artists made progress building the Arts Benches from reclaimed Pier Park Sequoia lumber and, with PP&R staff, they have determined the sites where the benches will be installed. One site will be next to the playground near the splash pad and the other will be under the Sequoia grove by the path to Chimney Park. These Arts Benches should be installed this year. We know that we need more benches in Pier Park, not just on the disc golf course. Keep your eye out for progress in that space in 2022.
Pier Park Discovery Walk
Another new project we started in 2021 is the creation of a Pier Park Discovery Walk. It’s a self-guided walk through the park observing unique points of interest. This was inspired Ginger Edwards and the North Portland Parks Advisory Group that created a Discovery Walk for Arbor Lodge Park. Ours will include a downloadable map with descriptions and an artist rendition of the interest points with a separate checklist that families can use to track which ones have been found during a walk. We thank Roosevelt high school artist, Annika E., and Lupita Zamora, who provided translation services for Spanish versions of Discovery Walk handouts.
Thank You to Friends of Pier Park Supporters
All these good things for Pier Park could not be done without you, our supporters. We especially thank you for your financial support. Our year-end fundraiser met its objective due to your generosity. With those funds we plan to keep enhancing the Woodland Garden and the Park’s understory. And, we hope Sitton 3rd graders will be able to come plant every year. It’s heartwarming to hear a third-grader say as they are putting a new plant in the ground, “I walk right by this spot on my way to school.” Imagine how that individual will feel about the park as they watch “their” plant grow throughout the years.
Thank you all for your support of Pier Park. We hope to see you in the park soon.
Friends Of Pier Park,
Steve Davis, Chairperson