2022 Annual Report

Children playing on the swings at Pier Park

2022 was another good year for Friends of Pier Park. As we recovered from the worst of the COVID pandemic, increasing numbers of visitors started coming back to enjoy the park. Meanwhile, we continued to maintain and strengthen partnerships with several outside organizations that helped us deliver significant progress on some established programs and add new ones.

We began the year with $8745 in our treasury. We spent $7184 on projects and programs. We received $5150 in grants and $950 in donations. We ended the year with $7635.

Projects and Programs:

Adding Plants – improving the environment

We purchased many more plants for two projects that we started in 2021. The Pier Park “Understory Enhancement” project added native plants under the big tree canopy in areas that were formerly being mowed. These areas better represent a natural multilevel Northwest forest understory, add visual interest, and add food and improved habitat for many animal species.

Dave Blado with native plants, volunteer planter, and Douglas Fir trees at Pier Park
Dave Blado with native plants and volunteer planters

The “Woodland Garden” project added flowering plants to the gardens intended as a showplace where visitors can rest and relax. These are located adjacent to the main paths near the covered picnic area and the Playground Meadow. Both of these projects were conceived and executed in partnership with the Portland Parks and Recreation maintenance and horticulture staff.

Educating youth – enabling lifelong love of nature

With the help of a Live Greener grant from the Portland Trail Blazers
Foundation, we were able to continue the “Next-Door Nature” youth
component of our Understory Enhancement program with our partners:

  • Sitton Elementary
  • The Columbia Slough Watershed Council and Confluence.
Third grade students from Sitton Elementary School planting at Pier Park
Sitton Elementary students planting at Pier Park

This annual project engages the head, heart, and hands of 5th-grade students at Sitton through environmental education, hands-on planting, and what our roles are as earth stewards for the care of the outdoors and each other. Kids learn about our watershed and how to protect it. They learn about the benefits of native plants and how to plant them and they receive guidance from Native American artist/educators on the importance of having a strong sense of place and connection to our landscape.

Our goal is to continue to offer “Next-Door Nature” every year
going forward, if we can keep our funding up.

Volunteer Work Parties – engaging the community and improving the

We hosted three major park clean-up events in 2022:

  • Partnering with Solve for Earth Day in the spring
  • Partnering with the University of Portland’s Pamplin School of Business students and Rebuilding Together for a second spring cleanup
  • Partnering with PP&R for a fall No Ivy Day event.
  • We also assisted PP&R and Stumptown Disc Golf with installing new disc golf tee pads on winter layout holes. These all-volunteer maintenance efforts make a big difference in keeping our park a unique and special place.
SOLVE event held in April 2022. Group shot of volunteers.
April 2022 Earth Day Friends of Pier Park Pick-Up

A big thank you goes out to the many volunteers who have joined us on those days.

Music in the Park/Pickleball Clinic – engaging community, attracting

Early in the year Will Lewis, a Pier Park neighbor and professional sound engineer, approached us with the idea that the Pier Park Playground Meadow is a natural amphitheater that would be an excellent venue to present musical entertainment. His vision was that we could hold monthly “Music in the Park” events in each of the non-rainy season months. We liked the idea and Will became our de facto FoPP music event leader. We aimed to put on one event in 2022 to learn what it takes to host music in the park.

John Aschenbrenner playing pickelball at Pier Park.
Pickleball Clinic at Pier Park

Our Sunday afternoon event on July 24th presented three acts, each consisting of a solo singer/guitar player. At the same time, experienced pickleball volunteers hosted a clinic at the decommissioned tennis courts on which PP&R had painted pickleball courts. All activities on this day were free and open to the public. The day was a success. We estimate around 200 people stopped to enjoy the music and around 40 came to the pickleball introduction. In 2023 we are planning to host 3 Music in the Park events.

Dennis Griffiths playing guitar at Pier Park music event
Dennis Griffiths playing guitar at Pier Park’s Music in the Park 2022

Pier Park Discovery Walk – engaging and educating visitors and families

In 2021 we started developing Pier Park Discovery Walk handouts
intended to be used by park visitors to learn about points of interest in the park. They were completed in time to distribute them during the Music in the Park event. They have been posted on our website for anyone to download and use.

Sequoia Arts Benches – adding interest and places to rest

North Portland artists, leaders Kelly Pergande and Aren Lawler, and Oliver Ogden craftsmen delivered three unique benches made from reclaimed Pier Park Sequoia lumber to the PP&R maintenance building in July. They will be installed in 2023, one in Sequoia Grove along the path to Chimney Park and two next to the playground near the splash pad. Adding more benches in the park will be a continued focus.

fallen sequoia bench with artist Aren Lawler
One of the Sequoia benches with artist Aren Lawler and craftsman Oliver Ogden

Through all our efforts, FoPP strives to reach further into our culturally rich and diverse neighborhood, to empower more people in the use and care of Pier Park through the work we do together. From our Next-Door Nature project that engages historically underserved children with access to nature through a quality environmental education program to welcoming free-for-all events, and translated communications and materials like our Discovery Walk, we believe in the power of equitable access and participation in all we do.

Going forward we hope to continue to foster programs and features
that bring more of our neighbors into the park. We aim to have the
increased number of visitors and active volunteers better represent the diversity of our neighborhood and the global majority.

Thank you all for your support of Pier Park.

–Friends Of Pier Park

Partner Organization Links Below:

  • https://www.confluenceproject.org
  • https://www.columbiaslough.org
  • https://www.pps.net/sitton