August 4, 2011
Wilkes Creek Headwaters
Sharing and Planning Session
Forty people attended this meeting with thirty-three who signed the roster as participants in this session convened at East Portland Neighborhood Office (EPNO). The meeting began at 6:30 pm and adjourned at 8:00 pm. Alice Blatt, chairperson of the Wilkes Community Group (WCG), Joyce Ley, secretary for WCG, and Eliza Lindsay, EPNO staff presented background information on the Wilkes Creek Headwaters property including a brief history, information on the recent purchase, and recent stabilization activities.
Announcement was provided regarding the WCG Movies in the Park night scheduled for August 10, 2011 with activities beginning at 6:00 pm in Wilkes Park ( 3655 NE 154th Avenue). The Bobby Torres Trio will begin performing at 6:30 pm, and Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish will speak before the movie about 8:00 pm. Doug Brenner, Zone Four Manager for Portland Parks and Recreation will also be attending this event. Door prizes will be given, and a Bounce House will be set up as a pre-movie activity. The movie selected for the evening is Secretariat.
A primary focus for sharing at this session was to identify visions, ideas, and questions regarding the Wilkes Creek Headwaters property. The following is a list of these concepts identified by residents who live near or adjacent to this property. The items are listed in the order each was introduced.
- Where will the developed park area be? (Portland Parks and Recreation-PPR-indicated this would be the area where the holly orchard was located.)
- Where will park access be? Everyone present shared concern with this item.
- Where will park visitors be able to park their vehicles?
- What is planned for the big picture of traffic flow around the park?
- Serious security issues have developed as currently the park area is unsecured. Previous owner had dogs that guarded property along with stern warnings to intruders. With these measures now gone, this property offers excellent staging opportunities for increased crime in the neighborhood. (Several residents of this area expressed fears of seeing drug activities that now occur in Wilkes Park vicinity expanding into the area of the new property.)
- Is it possible to include security measures in the stabilization phase of the Wilkes Creek Headwaters property? Such might include fencing with locking gates for designated hours and/or establishing permanent security measures.
- What is the timeline for developing this property? Are the monies for the park dependent upon bond measures or other sources available? If so, what might they be?
- What exactly can be included, will be included in stabilization? How much money is available for utilization in stabilization steps/activities?
- How will the natural area be protected?
- Is it a given that this has to be a hybrid park? The predominant sentiment of attendees was for the entire park to be a natural area.
- Why do we need two parks so close to each other (reference to Wilkes Park)? This second park offers a conduit for gang activity.
- What is the immediate short term time line for what is going to happen now with specific regard to machinery-equipment usage, mowing, etc.? The south end of the property has high grass that is drying with summer heat and presents a potential fire hazard. (Previous owner kept the property mowed.) Several residents near other areas of the park property expressed concern with potential fire hazard of tall, dry grass.
- Several citizens expressed their love for the woods with aspirations that the property remain as beautiful woods that serve as natural habitat for birds and small animals.
- Planting native plants to preserve the natural elements of the property is desired.
- Establishing desirable replacement for the vaux swifts (birds) that previously utilized the holly orchard during their migration visits is a hopeful goal.
- Having a nice walking trail with controlled access, similar to the caliber of the Glendoveer walking path, is another desired feature for the property.
- If there will be four acres as a developed park, what kind of features will there be?
- The northeast corner of the property would be better suited with protection as a wetland area. Also, will there be any protection for the wetland area outside the park property area, but adjacent to the park?
Next steps will be planning for a neighborhood-wide "open house" with the board members of the Wilkes Community Group, representatives from Portland Parks and Recreation, SOLVE, Columbia Slough Watershed Council, East Portland Neighborhood Office, and other agencies that may be identified. Target date for this open house will be Tuesday, October 4, 2011.
Interested participants at this session were asked to volunteer to assist with planning the open house event. If you would like to help with these efforts, please contact one of the following -- Alice Blatt (email@example.com), Joyce Ley (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Eliza Lindsay (eliza.Lindsay@portlandoregon.gov).
The following list includes those who expressed willingness to help with this activity:
Lyn and Patricia Biglin
Terry and Mary Erdman
Thank you to all of you who took time from your summer day to share your interest in the future of this project. Your participation is greatly appreciated.
Alice Blatt, Wilkes Community Group chair
Joyce Ley, Wilkes Community Group secretary
Eliza Lindsay, East Portland Neighborhood Office Community Projects Coordinator