Article from the NW Examiner July 2010 edition.
More than two years after construction was to begin, no one knows when work will start on Fields Park, the final and by far largest of three Pearl parks.
The project is hung up on negotiations between the city and Hoyt Street Properties (HSP), the development firm that in 1997 agreed to donate land for the parks in exchange for removal of the Lovejoy viaduct, provision of streetcar service and relaxation of zoning rules.
City Commissioner Nick Fish has stepped into the negotiations, but there is no word on what kind of settlement will be reached or when.
Things began going sideways a year after Hoyt Street President Homer Williams closed the 1997 deal with the city and Portland Development Commission.
No one foresaw that within a year the Parks Bureau would institute system development charges (SDCs), a citywide system of fees on new construction to underwrite creation and maintenance of public parks.
One estimate puts these charges at about $2,800 per unit for typical Pearl buildings.
Hoyt Street Properties got full credit for the value of its land donated for Jamison Park, a credit it used against SDCs applied to the new buildings it was churning out...
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After a two-year hiatus, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R), the Project Advisory Committee, and design consultant the Office of Cheryl Barton are back at work on The Fields Neighborhood Park, refining the original concept plan and moving into schematic design.
Recent developments continue to move the long-awaited park, located at NW Overton and NW 11th Avenues, forward towards construction. Last fall, PP&R furthered the public involvement process and recruited two focus groups to provide much needed insight into two key park spaces: the Children’s Play Area and the Dog Area. The results: parents and child advocates clearly indicated the need for active, engaging, and kinetic activities; dog owners and advocates expressed concern over the size of the proposed dog area.
Currently, the design consultant is taking that feedback back to the drawing board – literally – to refine and further develop each of those two spaces. Ultimately, the final design will be the result of the available space, the public’s priorities, the need to balance needs to serve an entire community, and the limitations of the budget.
Refinements of the plan will be available for viewing from March 1st through March 6th at Umpqua Bank, NW 12th and Lovejoy. PP&R staff and Advisory Committee members will be on hand to discuss the design and answer questions at the following times:
Monday, March 1st, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Wednesday, March 3rd, 12:00 noon – 2:00 p.m.
Friday, March 5th, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 6th, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Comment forms will be onsite all hours – so stop by, take a look, and tell us what you think of the designs for The Fields.
The Fields Neighborhood Park is the third park outlined in the 2001 Portland River District Park System Urban Design Framework Study. Two parks in the study have already been completed and opened, including Jamison Square (completed 2002) and Tanner Springs Park (completed 2005).
The Fields project was initiated in January 2007 with the Project Advisory Committee, including representatives from local Pearl District organizations as well as a cross-section of neighborhood residents, to guide the design process. Community priorities for the new park were established through questionnaires, a workshop, and an open house. The overwhelming consensus was for green open space in what was once the industrial and transportation hub of Portland