The Humboldt Neighborhood Association
4815 NE 7th Avenue Portland, OR 97211
Date: January 5th, 2020
To: Portland Parks & Recreation:
Director, Adena Long
Operations & Strategies Manager, Claudio Campuzano
Recreation Services Division Manager, Maximo Behrens
Land Stewardship Division Manager, Tonya Booker
Assets & Development Division Manager, Lauren McGuire
Asset Manager/Program Manager, Chris Silkie
Planning Manager, Brett Horner
Board Chair, Paul Agrimis
CC: Mayor Ted Wheeler
Commissioners Fritz, Hardesty, & Eudaly
Communications Coordinator for Nick Fish
City Auditor, Mary Hull Caballero
Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods
From: The Humboldt Neighborhood Association
Kymberly Jeka, Board Chair
John Ollis, Vice Chair
Alicia Richards, Secretary
Clifford Walker, Historian
Abe Proctor, At Large Board Member (PCC Cascade)
Richard Hunter, At Large Board Member
Kate Piper, At Large Board Member
Brandi Boersma, At Large Board Member
RE: Promised Park within the Humboldt Neighborhood
Almost twenty years ago Portland’s Humboldt Neighborhood was promised a park. What happened? Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) knows the benefit of neighborhood Parks; they are a vital resource to both a community and neighborhood. The Humboldt neighborhood is one of the only neighborhoods without its own designated city park in the entire city of Portland!
PP&R has previously identified Humboldt as having a large underserved area in need of a park for a number of years, but has not yet fulfilled their mission to provide high quality designated recreation services and opportunities for all residents in this high density underserved area (see attached map from PP&R).
Humboldt is part of the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Plan, which promised Humboldt a park adopted as far back as August 2000. As Humboldt continues to grow at a record rate, new developments are vastly decreasing any real potential public green space, park, or sanctuary for all. Thus, Humboldt’s opportunity to have access to public green space is quickly diminishing. For many years, residents have used Portland Public School (PPS) property, (a large, open field adjacent to Jefferson High School on the Southside of Alberta and Kerby Avenue) as a park, due to it being the only green space in the neighborhood. Despite this area being unfenced and unmanaged, many individuals utilize it to recreate and take their dogs off leash. Not only is this against PPS policy, but the lack of amenities that often come with public parks (dog bags, trash cans, restrooms, etc.) are a true concern for public health and safety. Many complaints have been filed historically revolving around the unregulated use of this site and have thus far not been fully mitigated.
Not having a neighborhood park, in an area that qualifies for every prioritization factor in the city’s park plan forces Humboldt residents to travel further unnecessarily; thereby, it is an issue of livability, quality of life, and public health. This disproportionately impacts Humboldt further, as a neighborhood consisting of a higher percentage than city average of vulnerable and/or culturally- and economically-diverse households.
The Humboldt Neighborhood Association & Future Park of Humboldt Committee have attempted to work with PP&R over time, providing qualifying suggestions of parcels of land, many of which are now large developments, through PP&R’s suggested method online. Commissioner Amanda Fritz has also been contacted and a response to HNA was never received. PP&R has a duty to take notice of vital missing representation of PP&R in the Humboldt Neighborhood specifically, where the interests of long underserved residents, working to develop and enhance the local green space creating a park environment could have been a mutual collaboration. With the entire west side of Humboldt bordering I-5, along with the major air quality concern from diesel particulates impacting this community, also adding to the great importance of this critical need for protected green space specific to this community.
The Humboldt Neighborhood Association asks that Portland Parks & Recreation fulfill its long ago – twenty years – original obligation of creating a promised neighborhood park managed by PP&R in the inclusive, diverse, sustainable, and prosperous community of recognized underserved green space within Humboldt for a public park within a 10-minute walk for All to utilize, as such is PP&R’s vision. We look forward to discussing this project with you. Thank you for your kind and thoughtful consideration.
The Humboldt Neighborhood Association