By James Kreipe, Chair, Friends of Gates Park
Gates Park is the large area of vacant land east of SE 136th Ave and North of Holgate comprising several acres and is part of the Portland Parks and Recreation system. Over the last 10 years, a few homes and private lots have been quietly purchased by the City of Portland and absorbed into the Park boundary.
Being presently unimproved and unused for many years, Portlanders have been passing Gates Park without realizing it as public park property. That situation is about to change.
The neighborhood around Gates Park has recently joined together by forming the Friends of Gates Park. This effort was initiated in the spring of 2016 by a few neighbors who felt it was time to draw attention to the Park and determine how the neighborhood could seek improvements to the large empty property.
Those who attended the first meeting on the 2nd Tuesday of May, 2016, chose to discuss the most pressing need: illegal camping. This camping within the park and long term recreational vehicle parking and living on the Park perimeter was making the park area unsafe. The group sought assistance from Portland Parks and the Department of Transportation with good success. Today, end of December 2016, there are presently no campers or RVs on the Park boundary.
As the Friends of Gates Park continued to meet throughout the following months, many neighbors came together to focus on other issues and to begin a dialog with Portland Parks and Recreation to understand how Gates Park might be better maintained and improved. Upon meeting with city park officials and continuing regular meetings on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7PM, the group came to a consensus. We chose to focus our energies on four goals:
- Improved maintenance
- Create a path within the park
- Get a park sign
- Seek long term major park improvements
As 2017 begins, the Friends of Gates Park are happy to announce that we have or will soon achieve the first three goals. Gates Park will receive more routine maintenance by city park crews, but also by the neighborhood who has responded with routine litter collection.
If you are interested in joining the energy of the Friends of Gates Park, contact James Kreipe, Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org Meetings will resume February 14, at 7 PM in February. Meeting location will be announced.