Letter to Mike Abatte

In March the Friends of Pier Park Board responded to the 2014-15 Portland Parks Requested Budget. The letter is below.

March 14, 2014

Mike Abatte
Director Portland Parks and Recreation

Dear Mr. Abatte:

Thank you for sharing the 2014-15 Portland Parks Requested Budget. It is great news
that this is a “stabilized” budget. We appreciate your support in the past and would like
to take this opportunity to provide our feedback on the proposed budget “add
packages.”

Regarding item PK_04 – Parks & Natural Areas Maintenance, Part 2, “Establish a staff
team which visits and evaluates parks …” We believe that a simple consultation with
workers on the ground and their direct managers would provide all necessary feedback
on “safety, cleanliness, landscape condition,” etc. without setting aside valuable staff
time to drive around and evaluate parks. Just ask the people who are there doing the
work what more needs to be done.

Item PK_05 – Equity/Access calls for a new Senior Management Team Position. Instead
of spending $150,000 hiring more Senior Staff for Equity/Access, we request that PP&R
better utilize these funds by hiring several summer staff to work directly with children in
programs in Portland Parks as a means of fulfilling Equity/Access parameter. For
example, in Pier Park, staff could provide extra swimming classes, tennis classes/
lessons, disc golf lessons or even guided nature walks.

Regarding PK-06 – ADA Transition Plan, we recognize that our parks are often not in
compliance with ADA requirements. Pier Park, for example:
• A pool renovation several years ago removed a step-up and allowed ADA access to
the changing rooms at Pier Pool. Unfortunately, the addition of a lift to make the pool
itself accessible was not included.
• Pier Park has a lovely new accessible path that will allow ADA access to a bridge
connecting to Chimney Park, but there is still no ADA accessible restroom facility.

Which leads us to item PK_08 – Major Maintenance. While the amount requested is only
enough to mitigate the most dire maintenance needs, we would like to alert PP&R to
several areas of Pier Park that are in need of repair. We would first recommend as a top
priority to include Pier Park restroom facilities on the list.

We estimate that 2,500 players use the Pier Park disc golf course each week during
good weather. Add to this the baseball and softball teams, families on picnics, walkers
and joggers and you get an idea of the number of people visiting Pier Park without
adequate sanitation facilities. A new ADA accessible restroom is essential at Pier Park.

The historic brick buildings may not be fully repaired with the funding provided, but it
may be advisable to include as a major maintenance project to install roofing on the
buildings to prevent further damage.

Finally, we would like to remind you of the Pier Park tennis courts. While it was last
repainted by Friends of Pier Park volunteers under the supervision of Alex Salazar in
2011, it is still in need of additional repairs. The Pier Park tennis courts are the only
open free to the public courts in several miles and one of the only shaded courts in the
entire city offering outdoor tennis under the comfort of shade even in hot weather.

We look forward to working with PP&R to further preserve and protect access to nature
and amenities that our city parks provide. Neighborhood parks are treasures in our
communities. There is much need in North Portland to upgrade our parks for safety and
accessibility for all. Please consider the needs for Pier Park when deciding on
distribution of funds for the budget add packages.

Sincerely,
Friends of Pier Park Board
– Ryan Lynch, Chair
– Kelly Pergande, Vice Chair
– Erin Etchison, Secretary
– Keola Morley, Treasurer
– Melissa Swope, Technology Officer
– Mary Ann Aschenbrenner, Past board member

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