Portland, Ore. — Portland City Commissioner Dan Ryan, responsible for overseeing Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R), has allocated $15 million in System Development Charges (SDCs) to fully fund the construction of a new skatepark in the Old Town neighborhood. The chosen site for the park is near the Steel Bridge on the west side of the Willamette River.
Commissioner Ryan emphasizes the positive impact on the city’s quality of life, stating that having more recreational spaces contributes to a better overall city experience. The transformation of part of Old Town into a citywide recreation destination is expected to benefit businesses, residents, and visitors.
The idea of a premier skatepark in downtown Portland has been in the works since the early 2000s, with community input shaping the concept in PP&R’s 2008 Skatepark System Plan. The new park near the Steel Bridge is anticipated to be a world-class attraction, bringing vitality to Old Town Portland and providing a recreational space for people of all backgrounds and abilities.
PP&R Director Adena Long expresses enthusiasm for the project, highlighting the widespread community support. Park System Development Charges, which are one-time fees assessed on new development and not funded by General Fund tax dollars, will be used to finance the skatepark. These charges ensure that the city’s infrastructure keeps pace with its growing population.
Various partners are supporting the project, including Prosper Portland, contributing $250,000 to advance development. The Steel Bridge Skate Coalition and the Old Town Community Association (OTCA) have also shown support. The preliminary design was a collaborative effort by DAO Architecture, Lango Hansen Landscape Architects, and Grindline Skateparks, Inc.
The park’s proposed location falls under the management of the Portland Bureau of Transportation and Oregon Department of Transportation, with involvement from TriMet and Union Pacific Railroad in discussions and land use matters.
In spring 2024, PP&R will commence work with project partners on property acquisition and feasibility, followed by community engagement and design. Despite the positive development, PP&R faces a significant maintenance backlog of approximately $600 million. The bureau is exploring options to address this funding gap through the Sustainable Future program.
Community updates on the new skatepark project’s public outreach opportunities and timelines will be provided by PP&R as more information becomes available. For additional details on PP&R funding, interested parties can visit www.portland.gov/parks/funding-sources.