After our in class discussion about neighborhoods and how they have a direct effect on students and families and thus on schools, I decided to do a bit of research on neighborhoods in the Portland area to see how well (or not so well) they are currently working. In my research, I found an article about Beech Park, which is located in east Portland. The City of Portland obtained the property that the park sits on in 1984. Now, about twenty nine years later, the property has yet to be developed. In 1994, a $59 million dollar parks bond was passed. In 2002, another bond was passed– this time for $49 million dollars. Yet, though all of these bonds have passed there is still no playground for the children that live nearby or sidewalks for families to ride their bikes. Beech Park has merely a section of grass on it and nothing more.
According to the article, many new parks have been established on the west side. However, the outer east side has yet to get the attention it deserves. Amanda Fritz, who is the Commissioner of Portland, reported that she has a plan to develop at least one park located in the east side before the end of her term . The issue now is coming up with enough funding to construct and then maintain the park. Apparently the city has $8 million dollars they could use towards the park but the questions is– will they?
On a brighter note, the article pointed out that there has been a couple of positive additions in the outer East side area such at the East Portland Community Center where they added an indoor pool.
After reading over the article, I can’t help but wonder: If one third of the city’s children live in East Portland, why doesn’t the area have more parks established? Where has all the money gone? Does anyone know if there are any organizations monitoring where the money is going?
Link to article: http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2013/10/portland_should_live_up_to_its.html
Amira J. El-Jamal