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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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1120 SW 5th Avenue, Suite 1302
Portland, Oregon 97204

503-823-PLAY (7529)

Emily Roth, Project Manager


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Levels of Service for Developed Parks and Natural Areas

Project Description

The Level of Service (LOS) project will develop a tool that recommends what experiences and facilities should be provided in developed parks and natural areas, and how those assets and facilities will be equitably distributed across the City.

This project will answer the question – “If I live anywhere in the City, what parks experiences should I expect in a park and how close will different services be to where I live?”

The current PP&R level of service goals were established in the Parks 2020 Vision plan:

  • A developed park or natural area within a ½-mile (10-15-minute walk) of every resident; and
  • A full-service community center within 3 miles of every resident. 

This project will take the next step and describe what features Portlanders can expect in parks throughout the city, and at what frequency. Level of Service goals will help us understand what features park users expect to have in most parks and what experiences people are willing to travel greater distances to use. For example, the Level of Service project will establish goals for the following features within two park types:

  • Developed Parks: Ballfields, Basketball Courts, Community Gardens, Dog Off-Leash Areas, Group Picnic Areas, Play Areas, Plazas, Restrooms, Skateparks, Sports Fields, Spray/Interactive Fountains, Tennis Courts
    • Natural Areas: Interpretive Signage, Paved Trails, Soft Surface Paths, Trailheads, Viewing Areas, Wayfinding Signage

We are also capturing information on new park uses and emerging park features.

To determine the Level of Service for Developed Parks and Natural Areas, we created a process that will evaluate the following factors:

  • Review community input received through the 2017 Community Needs Assessment and other community involvement processes relevant to the project.
  • Conduct focus group listening sessions with constituencies who have not typically been provided access to decision-making (especially communities of color, immigrants and refugees),
  • Attendance at community events in which we discuss with people what their “local park needs” are.
  • Determine how much a proposed level of service would generally cost (including construction and operating costs); and,
  • Project how the proposed service levels could be funded over time, informed by financial planning PP&R is currently doing.

The Level of Service will affirm a vision for the park system and result in recommendations for prioritizing system growth. An upcoming Level of Service project will look at community centers and aquatic facilities. Once established level of service recommendations will be an important foundational part of the upcoming Vision 2035 project.

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Project Maps and Presentation Materials

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Community Involvement Opportunities

  • Parks Board Update – February 2019
  • Future Online Survey – Date To Be Announced
  • Future Community Meetings – Dates To Be Announced in 2019

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Project Schedule

  • Past events and opportunities (summer 2017 through fall 2018):
    • Nine focus groups hosted by PP&R in partnership with IRCO and Verde in 2017 and 2018 for community members of the following communities: African Americans, Asians, Slavic, Youth
      • Attendance at 30+ community events in which we asked people what their “local park needs” are.
  • Upcoming outreach and focus groups (proposed outreach list, Winter 2019–Spring 2019):
    • African American Community
    • Coalition of Communities of Color
    • Community Center Youth
    • IRCO
    • Native American Community Advisory Council
    • Neighborhood Coalition Parks Committees
    • New Portlander Policy Commission
    • Portland Parks Board
    • PP&R employees
    • PP&R youth ambassadors
    • Verde community members

  • February 12, 2019—Parks Advisory Board project update

  • Fall 2019 (anticipated)—Forward recommended Level of Service Goals to PP&R Director, Commissioner Nick Fish, and City Council for review and approval.

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Emily Roth, Project Manager
503-823-9225  |  Email

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