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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New Pearl playground -- get out your magnifying glass

After years of building cold, artsy moonscapes, the Portland parks people are getting ready to install something that resembles an actual park. In the Pearl District, of course. And they're making a big deal about how there's going to be a playground in it. It's a sad statement, but Portland hasn't shown much interest in building playgrounds in a long time.

Young mayoral candidate Max Brumm has taken a look at the plans for the new park, and he argues that the children's play space is way too small:

Look at the size of the children’s area compared to the rest of the park. What families want is more room to play. The downtown center no longer has any large spaces for school age children or sports fields. Families have to drive out to the edges of Portland or (god forbid!) across the river to play in parks where there is more room. They are building Fields Park to be tailored for adults and dogs. Families with school-aged children are barely even in the equation. Build baby build! But we need to be building the right infrastructure to make sure we have a tomorrow. Not just empty condos and offices that only the rich can afford. During the summer I looked into putting multipurpose sports fields right on that very spot, as well as a few vacant lots around the city of Portland. It could have been done if PDC would be willing to anger their “favored” developer friends. But they are choosing not to.

Looking at this plan, it's hard to argue with him about the size of the playground. Sheesh, could they spare it?

At least they've got a big open green space in this park -- a place in which you could actually run around and play. There'll probably be some turf battles between the humans and the dogs, whose owners will try to make the whole park a de facto off-leash area, but with any luck, that will settle down. Then make way for comedy, as the Pearlies come down out of the bunkers to hang out.

Comments (26)

Dogs Rule in the Pearl! And this proves it. Looks like about 2 times as much space for the dogs as for any children that might happen to visit.
And if I had small children I would never ever! let them play anywhere near Jamison Park. The grass there is permanently contaminated.

I don't know what worse, that the playground is so small, or that it looks like a scale model of the Columbia River Crossing.

Is this park going to have restrooms?
Is this park going to have garbage picked up?
Is this park going to be the next picture on brochures and websites parading our wonderful Portland Park's?

my 4 year old's favorite day is taking the max downtown to play in the parks. jamison square is literally OVERRUN with children. tanner springs is also a great park for kids, we never have a problem finding a playmate there even in the dead of winter. waterfront park and directors park are also her favorites.

the large scale fountains are very appealing to kids, much more than a big empty baseball diamond.

between waterfront park and this new one-- the space to run and throw things requirement should be covered. also, don't forget washington park and the rest of forest park is amazing for kids.

i am not sure if anyone with kids is actually complaining much about the park situation. things seem to be getting better every year in terms of park access downtown.

The design actually looks kind of cool, and an attempt to balance out the needs of different park uses and users. Do you think they have the money and interest in building similar parks for the working-class folks out in East Portland to enjoy?

Hey, stop laughing!

You guys can't really expect a playground in the Pearl to be used for kids, do you? You've just made the hipsters cry, you heartless beasts! (Yes, I know: they've turned all of Portland into a 24-hour playground. They also have a thing about being told "get off and let the little kids have some room," because they've been told that since they were at least 28.)

I like how the city plans for activities such as "sitting" and "socializing."

I wonder if there will be signs to that effect: This area is for sitting and socializing only. Shy standees will be prosecuted.

Is this park going to have restrooms?

I spy a single Portland Loo in the lower left, thankfully not too far from the kids park but -- Come on! -- my biggest complaint about the Loos (aside from the fact that their doors are incredibly heavy and difficult for little ones, the elderly and the disabled to open and close) is that they only accommodate one butt at a time. For an entire park with a playground full of young kids not known for superior bladder control.

I wish we could focus more on need and less on impressing other cities with our Loo design. If the city had decided, instead, to use existing ground floor space or erect multiple seat restrooms near parks and then hired people to attend them, you'd not only have enough potties for all, they'd be safe, accessible AND there'd be a few more people employed. Even if it were only part time or part of community service.

Why would any parent subject their kids to living in the Pearl ?

FYI, every dog for blocks around uses the Jamison Square as their "Portland Loo". Even if the dog walker is responsible and picks up the solid waste, there is still residue, and the dog urine is still on the grass. In the summer with the park "over run with children" and only one person loo the problem becomes worse.
I cannot imagine allowing a child to play or sit on that ecoli infested turf.
I hope your 4 year old remains healthy.

things seem to be getting better every year in terms of park access downtown.

In this best of all possible cities...

Developers' version of "Green Stamps." Keeps the customer coming back. Gee whiz, thank you, Mr. Developer!

If we're not building schools or libraries there, why bother with parks?

With all of the condos going up without any of these necessities, it makes me think that no one is thinking that kids are going to be living there anyway.

Egads, I had also neglected to consider the implications of a single one-seater Loo during the following suggested events noted on the map:

Movies in the Park
Large Group Gatherings

. . . which will never happen without the trucking in of numerous porta-potties.

I tend to agree with the other critics. For a city with such a blatantly anti-family agenda, this has got to be mere window dressing and a possible attempt to placate a few Pearl residents, but most importantly, will look good on the "Be like Portland! Let us show you how!" color brochure.

The Portland Loo experiment looks even more loo-dicrous if you compare it to anything else. Suppose there was no public parking in a certain part of town and the City decided to develop a Portland Parking Spot which would only accommodate one car.

Would you be excited about that? Would you consider it took care of the problem?

Don't worry about us out here in the forgotten land of the East. We've got a new park too! It's just a big patch of dirt (with some patchy grass), and that junior high gang kid got killed right across the street, and there used to be a dry cleaners there so the soil is a bit iffy, and there are NO amenities whatsoever (loo/potty/fenced dog area/playground/walking paths/areas to sit and socialize), but hey--it's a new park! See, City Hall DOES love us after all!

[In all fairness, for the past 2 years there have been discussions on how to best outfit the new park, but they sure aren't bothering to hurry up about it.]

No jobs, therefore no families, so schools, parks, and libraries become unnecessary. Just ride your bike in the rain to the coffee "shoppe".

Does the landscape detail show any bullet berms or gunfire shelters?

Portland Native,

My daughter has not spent any time on the grass, too busy playing where every kid plays at the park, in the fountain. The parents sit on the grass.

The fountains that seem to be added to almost every park are a pretty big upgrade over Portland's previous park amenity, the wading pool. I think my kid is probably way safer than previous generations on that upgrade alone.

Dear where you sit and check your shoes!

"The Portland Loo experiment looks even more loo-dicrous if you compare it to anything else. Suppose there was no public parking in a certain part of town and the City decided to develop a Portland Parking Spot which would only accommodate one car."

I believe that's being planned, too.

I remember those wading pools fondly, especially the one at Rose City Park. They were too shallow to drown in and had no sculptural elements like the fountain at Jamison Park to fall off of. I spent many a happy sunny hour there with brothers, sisters and friends! Seems they were decommissioned about the same time most of the Portland Parks brick restrooms closed.

We need some kind of fido tax in this city as our parks cede more space to canine overpopulation. Maybe a dime or dollar charge on every bag of dog food. I suppose it's political suicide to be anti-dog, but really, most of these condo dwellers don't know how to take care of their precious little pups. A half-hour jog down to the park just doesn't cut it when the animal is neglected the rest of the day.

NW Portlander:I spent many a happy sunny hour there with brothers, sisters and friends! Seems they were decommissioned about the same time most of the Portland Parks brick restrooms closed.

Do you remember what years those were decommissioned?


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