Friends of Pier Park 2020 Annual Report
Although 2020 was a most trying year, and we still have a way to go before things feel normal, it’s worth reflecting on last year’s accomplishments, disappointments, and focus areas for the coming year.
The land for Pier Park was purchased in 1920, therefore, in 2019 we began discussing how we could celebrate this centennial with a big event during the 2020 summer. When COVID-19 struck we had to postpone any thought of that until the pandemic was well behind us. We don’t know whether that will be later in 2021or in 2022 but we’ll continue to plan and we welcome your thoughts on what would make for a great event.
Also because of the pandemic lockdown, we didn’t hold a spring Earth Day cleanup. We were, however, able to hold a reduced Fall No Ivy Day clean-up on October 24th. We had to limit participation and couldn’t provide volunteers with the usual snacks, drinks, and food for an after-party. Nevertheless the 20 volunteers, including Adena Long, Portland Parks & Recreation Director, did safely get a significant amount of work done that day. Thank you Adena for joining us at work and experiencing our favorite park up close and personal.
During the lockdown, when the pool, ball diamonds, picnic areas, skate park, playground and disc golf course were closed, the park seemed eerily quiet. However, even though many activities were curtailed, the park continued to be a refuge for many citizens who visited to walk outside, enjoy nature and partake in the limited activities that were available.
Disc Golf Baskets
One especially disappointing incident happened early during the lock down. Four of the disc golf baskets were vandalized by cutting baskets and chains down. The golf course had not been closed at the time. Speculation is that someone was upset at the number of golfers in the park and instead of raising the issue with PP&R or FoPP, they took this destructive action. As a result the remaining baskets were pulled until lockdown restrictions were later reduced. Fortunately the PP&R maintenance team was able to fix 3 of the 4 baskets and the Stumptown Disc Golf club purchased a new basket to replace the one that couldn’t be fixed.
Like everyone else, we adapted to life in isolation by moving our monthly board meetings to Zoom while we continued moving forward on a few ongoing initiatives.
Sequoia Arts Bench
The Arts Bench project was one project. Lumber from a sequoia — removed to accommodate the footbridge over the rail tracks from Pier Pier to Chimney Park — will be used to construct two benches to be placed in Pier Park. Friends of Pier Park has allocated $1000 from our funds to support this project. Local artists are donating time and materials to make the benches. Additional funds will be required for PP&R to mount the benches and to provide for ongoing maintenance. The bench designs were reviewed with PP&R to ensure the design was compatible with the required mounting hardware. The next step will be to raise the rest of the required funding.
The decommissioned tennis courts have become a second project. The tennis courts in Pier Park were deemed too expensive to maintain as tennis courts. Through email and social media, including Facebook and Next Door, we solicited subscribers and local residents for suggestions on how to repurpose the paved and fenced area. The result is a proposal to paint lines for pickleball and futsal courts and various games like foursquare and hopscotch.
We held a meeting with pickleball and futsal advocates and PP&R staff to come up with a layout to accommodate all activities. We’re now waiting for better weather to allow for cleaning and painting the surface while PP&R ensures that this integrates with their strategic city-wide plans. We’re hopeful that by late spring the painting will be done and the surface will be ready to use.
Our treasury has remained at a fairly constant level. A few donations and merchandise sales through the year were counterbalanced by small outlays for operating costs to keep the total around $4600. That includes the $1000 we have allocated for the Arts Bench funding.
We’ve started a focus on increased fundraising. In 2020 Stephanie LaMonica wrote and helped us apply for one grant. Although we didn’t win the grant, it was a productive exercise in helping us learn about the grant writing process and uncovering new opportunities for 2021.
Thank You to Subscribers/Volunteers
We thank all our subscribers for your participation throughout the year. Whether by joining us for clean up events, picking up random trash that you see while walking through the park, noting an improvement, or safety issue, donating money, buying our merchandise, or simply letting us know how much you appreciate the park, we’re glad you are involved. And look forward to seeing you in the park this year.
Steve Davis, Chair
Friends of Pier Park