"Diversity, Harmony, Community - Together WE can make a difference!”

Importance of Our Parks & Some Suggestions

Lee Dayfield, Neighbor & Parks Activist

It’s a fact that people who live closer to parks report better mental health even if they don’t actually exercise there. This is particularly true for parks with a lot of trees, grass and other natural features, as studies show that exposure to nature can reduce stress and promote relaxation. The Wilkes East neighborhood is fortunate to have two such wonderful parks, Nadaka and Columbia View.

For any citizens of Gresham who have followed City Council meetings, Budget Committee meetings and many other committees, you should know we are in trouble. The City of Gresham was in a budget crisis before COVID19 and it is even worse now. I was at Nadaka recently doing a walk around with a City official who indicated the parks would be in even worse shape next year and staff may have to be cut to three people.

So if you care at all about our parks I would strongly suggest you start speaking up by letting the Mayor and City Council know. You can do this by going to the City’s website and emailing your elected officials. Email addresses for Mayor and Council are on the City’s website. Or send written testimony or ask to give oral testimony at the next City Council meeting. Email Susanjoy.Wright@GreshamOregon.gov and tell her you want to be notified of upcoming Council meetings so you can participate via Zoom by phone or computer. Her phone number is 503-618-2697.

Nadaka Update   We are very fortunate that Play Grow Learn youth have been working at Nadaka on Thursday mornings for about five weeks primarily removing invasives. If you see them at the park please say Thank You! Beginning in August I think that group will be joined by Rosemary Anderson Summer Works youth. If that happens the plan is to work at Nadaka two or three days a week. They are wearing masks and maintaining safe distances.

If you are someone who wants to get out and make a difference at Nadaka you are always welcome to remove invasives. You don’t need an appointment and you can spend as much time as you want. The forest is full of ivy which most people know what it looks like. If you are familiar with weeds you can work on the planted beds near the entry at NE Glisan. The mulched areas north of the play area as well as the rocks surrounding the sand pit at the south end of the play area are also full of weeds. You can’t miss the large piles of invasives at the north end of the play area on the east side of the road. All debris go there. There is also plenty of ivy in Columbia View Park that should be removed. It can be piled next to the trash can on NE 169th.

If you are on Nextdoor there is a brand new group called Our Parks, Our Future Discussion Group. It will be a group of Gresham citizens who can share ideas, learn about parks districts and get engaged with City Hall regarding parks.

Cultivating solutions for Gresham's parks

Youth volunteers tend Nadaka Nature Park as city parks funding woes take root

Cultivating solutions for Gresham's parks. Youth volunteers tend Nadaka Nature Park as city parks funding woes take root. Info here!
PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Germaine Flentroy Jr. lugs a bucket of water across Nadaka Nature Park while helping maintain the greenspace.

Source: Gresham Outlook, Jun 22, 2020
By Christopher Keizur

A group of youth made a troubling discovery one afternoon while volunteering at Nadaka Nature Park.

Vandals had ripped out a young tree planted to provide shade in the Nadaka meadow for a popular bench among those seeking a quiet way to spend the afternoon. The tree, which had been planted earlier this spring, had been carelessly tossed to the side.

So the youth got to work. They re-dug a hole and got the tree back upright. Then they lugged water across the park to give the tree the best chance for survival. The work in Nadaka is just one way youth counselors with nonprofit Play Grow Learn are giving back to their community.

"I'm so grateful you all are helping maintain this park, because the city isn't able to," said Lee Dayfield, the creative force behind Nadaka.

Their support comes at a crucial time for one of the most unique parks in Gresham. Funding officially dried up at Nadaka, 17615 N.E. Glisan St., on June 1 — marking a major shift in what was once touted as the model for future parks in the city.

What made it special was the ongoing bevy of activities happening within the space.

There were cleanups, partnerships with schools, bird walks and workshops on native plants and pollinators. Nadaka hosted an annual free community festival that celebrated Rockwood's diversity, and employed a group of "Park Ambassadors," who served as the face of Nadaka — educating visitors and ensuring the park stayed safe and clean.

Cultivating solutions for Gresham's parks. Youth volunteers tend Nadaka Nature Park as city parks funding woes take root. Info here!

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Nick Johnson, 20, lives only a few blocks away from Nadaka Nature Park.

All of it was made possible by chasing grants.

"We knew raising funds this way was not sustainable," Dayfield said. "We hoped the city of Gresham would fill in the gaps, but that didn't happen."

City staff, who are overstretched among the 56 parks with more than 300 acres of space, can only mow the grass and empty the trash cans at Nadaka. Funding is also a major issue in Gresham, leading many voices to call for innovative new ways to raise money for parks.

A new coalition has been meeting virtually and is outlining a formal plan. So far, more than a dozen organizations have joined, including Play Grow Learn. It's a diverse mix of people that are all united in seeking a better way to reinvest in the parks system.

Several short and long-term funding ideas have been earmarked, though nothing is at the stage to make a formal pitch to the city. So in the meantime, it will be groups like the Play Grow Learn youth who do the majority of the work.

"We are doing the stuff that otherwise isn't going to get done," said Anthony Bradley, executive director of Play Grow Learn. "We are showing what can be done at our parks on a small budget."

Problems at Nadaka

Cultivating solutions for Gresham's parks. Youth volunteers tend Nadaka Nature Park as city parks funding woes take root. Info here!
PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Play Grow Learn youth volunteers replant a tree in Nadaka Nature Park that had been ripped out by vandals.

Nineteen-year-old Rico Garland had never been to Nadaka before he found himself removing invasive ivy from the wooded-trail system as part of Play Grow Learn's Days at Nadaka.

But soon the East Portland teen fell in love with the park.

"It's great to help out the community," Garland said. "This place is so beautiful."

Nadaka is a 10-acre property acquired from the Camp Fire Columbia organization in 1995. It was purchased thanks to Gresham voters passing an open-spaces bond measure in 1990.

In spring 2015, Nadaka celebrated an opening to the public, featuring wooden play structures, a community garden, restroom, picnic shelter, walking loop and public art.

"All of this is because of the hard work of community members," Dayfield said. "We all volunteered because we love this place."

Dayfield poured a lot of herself into supporting Nadaka. She spearheaded the charge to transform her dream park into a reality, overcoming red tape and bureaucracy to found Friends of Nadaka to secure grants and other funding.

For many years the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, a Portland-based organization, had supported the Gresham park. But with changes to the board and executive director, the watershed council decided to focus on other projects.

That caused the funding to run out at the beginning of this month, leaving a beautiful green space with nothing to do. There is some hope for the park — nonprofit Outgrowing Hunger has stepped in as the new fiscal agent for Friends of Nadaka, and was able to capture a $25,000 grant from the East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District. That grant was secured thanks to a funding match from the city.

But still Dayfield, and other members of the parks coalition, are seeking more permanent answers for the entire community.

The problems began two decades ago with a pair of ballot measures passed in Gresham that hamstrung the city's ability to fund parks. The votes set a permanent property tax that was the second lowest in the state.

The fallout was immediate

In 1990, Gresham's property taxes paid for 100% of police and fire services. Now, those taxes are only able to foot 40% of those expenses. As a result the city had to get creative in filling in the gaps. With the priority being safety, police and fire get the lion's share, leaving parks to wither.

Cultivating solutions for Gresham's parks. Youth volunteers tend Nadaka Nature Park as city parks funding woes take root. Info here!
PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Germain Flentroy Jr. and Jim Labbe fill a device with water that will give a replanted tree the best chance at survival.

Ideas have been bandied about by the parks coalition.

One long-term answer would be to look into forming a parks district, which has the power to construct, reconstruct, alter, enlarge, operate and maintain lakes, parks, recreation grounds and buildings; acquire necessary lands; and to call necessary elections after being formed. It isn't easy to implement a parks district, necessitating city leadership lessening its control over greenspaces, a feasibility study and public vote.

Other solutions have been a new parks utility fee; increasing the existing Police-Fire-Parks fee that was enacted in 2012; or vying for an Operations Levy/Bond Measure, that would also collect from property taxes.

Perhaps the most immediate proposal is participatory budgeting, which involves the community in choosing how to spend funds.

The city could start small, setting aside $100,000 in the first year. Different groups would pitch proposals on how to spend that pot, eventually leading to a community vote on what to fund. The city could set up guidelines that would shape what sort of proposals could be considered, but otherwise it places the onus in the hands of the community to grow and develop parks.

If participatory budgeting proved to be successful, it could be expanded.

"We could scale up and better fund all of our parks," said Jim Labbe, a former urban conservationist with the Audubon Society of Portland.

Lending a hand

Cultivating solutions for Gresham's parks. Youth volunteers tend Nadaka Nature Park as city parks funding woes take root. Info here!
PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - A group of volunteers spent an afternoon replanting a tree that had been ripped out of the ground.

Germaine Flentroy loves to visit Nadaka Nature Park with his youngest children, ages 4, 6 and 9.

They fondly refer to it as "the water park" because one of their favorite activities is playing with a water spigot by the climbing structure. When the weather is nice the Flentroys will enjoy a picnic in the grass, scratching that camping itch put on hold due to restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

So for Flentroy, program coordinator with Play Grow Learn, setting up a program to maintain the greenspace was a no-brainer.

"We want to be involved in our parks beyond having conversations," he said. "We have to do our part to represent and teach kids of color."

Normally this time of the year, the youth involved with Play Grow Learn would be helming camps for homeless and foster children as counselors. With the pandemic, the nonprofit organization based in Rockwood pivoted to food boxes for underserved families and the park cleanups. It is the youth who would have been camp counselors that have dived into their new roles.

Every week, 8-10 volunteers spend a couple of hours weeding, picking up trash, and undoing damage done by vandals. They also water plants in need of attention. The youth are paid by Play Grow Learn for their time in the park, and it is being used as an opportunity to teach them and hopefully foster a love for horticulture.

Eventually, when COVID-19 restrictions loosen, Play Grow Learn will have a field trip day where it brings the younger campers to Nadaka for an afternoon of fun.

And soon another group of teens will begin helping at Nadaka. Rosemary Anderson High School's Summer Works Group will be doing forest restoration at the park.

"These types of programs send a message to the city that people care about our parks," Labbe said.

Until Gresham is able to figure out funding, it will be up to volunteers to continue caring for their parks.

"Nature is for all," Flentroy said. "It's a safe place where you can get healed."

This story first appeared in The Outlook. Support community newspapers. Subscribe at http://savinglocalnews.com

Karylinn Echols named Gresham's interim mayor

Karylinn Echols named Gresham's interim mayor. Info here!

Gresham has an interim mayor after council voted unanimously to promote someone from within their ranks Monday morning, June 29.

Councilor will serve remainder of year, step aside after November special election

Source: Gresham Outlook, Jun 29, 2020
By Christopher Keizur

Karylinn Echols was appointed to the lead role during a special city council meeting after being nominated by a motion from Councilor Jerry Hinton and seconded by Councilor David Widmark.

"I look forward to working with each and every one of you as we get through the remainder of this year," Echols said.

Council telegraphed Monday's vote last week, when they voiced support for Echols stepping into the interim role. They delayed the decision to this week in order to allow for public comment on the matter.

The decision to name Echols interim mayor was made after the unexpected resignation of Shane Bemis Wednesday, June 17. Council had less than 30 days to name his interim successor by majority vote. With Echols being selected, she will now serve through the remainder of the year, before stepping aside for the person voted for by the public in the November election.

"She brings integrity, clarity and transparency to the city," Widmark said.

Echols has served as a Gresham City Councilor for 12 years, including two stints as council president. She was appointed to Position 3 in 2011 after being appointed to the role unanimously and winning a subsequent election. She also served a two-year stint in 2005.

Read more below this break.

Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis announces immediate resignation

Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis announces immediate resignation. In an unexpected announcement on social media Tuesday evening, June 16, Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis said he is stepping down from his role leading the city, effective 9 a.m. tomorrow. Info here!
Gresham Mayor, Shane Bemis

In an unexpected announcement on social media Tuesday evening, June 16, Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis said he is stepping down from his role leading the city, effective 9 a.m. tomorrow.

Bemis cites difficulties balancing his personal life and business with public service.

Source: Gresham Outlook
Tuesday, June 16, 2020

By Christopher Keizur, PMG

In a post to Facebook, Bemis wrote about the difficulties trying to balance raising a family, supporting a business during the COVID-19 pandemic, and dealing with challenges within City Hall.

"At the current moment, facing a pandemic; a rising, powerful, and necessary social justice movement; and the City's budget woes, all while trying to keep my business afloat, is not tenable," Bemis wrote. "I must fight for my business to provide for my family."

The mayor's seat now will be open in the November election, and Bemis is pushing for entrepreneur and community leader Travis Stovall to run for the position.

"Travis has been intricately involved in the City of Gresham, serving on committees ranging from public safety, to affordable housing and community development," Bemis wrote.

Bemis wrote that he watched Portland Police Chief Jami Resh step aside last week in order to allow someone else to lead the organization. Stovall is a black man who has spoken about the difficulties he has faced in East Multnomah County.

"As a political leader, it is always tempting to see oneself as the solution to whatever problems we may face," Bemis wrote. "However, when I spend time in self-reflection and consider the entirety of the critical work our city and broader society must address, I need to be willing to say I am not the best solution to these specific problems."

Bemis thanked the community for supporting him during his public service in Gresham.

"I came to Gresham as a 15-year-old kid. My family had nothing, and I knew nobody. This community has given me everything," Bemis wrote. "I will never forget your generosity and I will always do everything in my power, in any capacity, to give everything I have to this community."

Read Mayor Bemis' full statement below ...

Downtown Rockwood market hall gets redesign

Downtown Rockwood market hall gets redesign. Gresham Mayor voices concerns about completing long-brewing development. Info here!
COURTESY RENDERING: CITY OF GRESHAM - The Downtown Rockwood market hall, middle, has been redesigned to lower construction costs. Click to enlarge.

Source: The Gresham Outlook
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis voices concerns about completing long-brewing development

By Christopher Keizur

A Rockwood development project that has been brewing for more than two decades is getting a redesign to keep construction costs in line with budget constraints.

The second phase of Downtown Rockwood — originally called Rockwood Rising — was for a market hall with an international grocery marketplace, public commissary kitchen, and small business and pop-up stand opportunities.

The Gresham Redevelopment Commission heard the proposed design changes for the building that had bloated past its cost estimates during a meeting Tuesday afternoon, May 19. The new market hall looks different, and adds 3,000 square feet of restaurant/grocery/retail space; 10,000 square feet of office space; and four additional micro-restaurants.

But officials said it maintains the original intent of uplifting the diverse community of food entrepreneurs who call Rockwood home.

"The new design offers more variety of spaces," said Emily Bower, interim executive director of the Gresham Redevelopment Commission.

Downtown Rockwood market hall gets redesign. Gresham Mayor voices concerns about completing long-brewing development. Info here!
COURTESY RENDERING: CITY OF GRESHAM - The new market hall has more space for businesses. Click to enlarge.

The new market hall has more space for businesses.The idea behind Downtown Rockwood is to bring new construction and needed services into the heart of the neighborhood. The Catalyst Site, located between Southeast Stark Street, Southeast 185th Avenue and East Burnside Street, will be a central square with a public plaza and play structures for kids, an innovation hub with services for locals, retail stores, apartments, and the market hall.

The 5.5-acre plot of land was initially purchased by the Gresham Development Commission in 2005 with funds from the city's urban renewal district. The city spent three years, from 2014-2016, soliciting ideas and feedback from residents in the neighborhood.

The project finally broke ground last summer, marking a shift from planning to actually seeing Downtown Rockwood come to fruition. Since then the former Rockwood Community Office Building was renovated and construction of the innovation hub should be complete by July.

Bower said the market hall should be completed by Summer 2021 — a timeline Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis voiced concerns about.

"I feel like we are constantly changing the program and have had the property tied up for years with little steps being made," Bemis said during the virtual meeting. "I want to get this project done and do these things we have been talking about for the last 20-plus years. I am really concerned about hitting timelines and delivering for our community."

Bower said complications the last two years led to the redesign. Developers said the Portland area has experienced historic increases in the costs of construction. That, coupled with new federal tariffs on construction material, led to the need for a redesign. The new building has been simplified to maximize the leasable area within the building to improve finances.

"I am confident we will finish this project in the 2021-22 timeline," Bower said.

This story first appeared in The Outlook. Support community newspapers. Subscribe at http://savinglocalnews.com

Now, more than ever, wisely enjoy and invest in Gresham's parks

Metro-approved parks funding should not be used as an excuse by the city of Gresham to reduce parks funding. Info here!
Lee Dayfield

Lee Dayfield says Metro-approved parks funding should not be used as an excuse by the city of Gresham to reduce parks funding.

Meanwhile, stay-at-home orders ask that you only venture out for essential needs. Notably, access to public parks for exercise and fresh air while still practicing social distancing is among those allowed needs, and for good reasons.

Source: Pamplin Media Group
Thursday, April 16, 2020

If you have been out and about in our local parks and trails this past week you might have noticed how many of your neighbors are doing the same. It is not just the improving weather.

The pandemic has put a renewed premium on proximity to parks and nature. For those of us fortunate enough to have high quality public greenspace nearby, the value is especially self-evident. But long before this pandemic, research has demonstrated what people know intuitively: access to parks and nature is no simple frill or amenity, but an essential determinant of individual and community health.

Unfortunately, Gresham's City budget has made parks a low priority in recent years. Park investments made by Gresham voters a generation ago have not kept pace. To be sure, our community has many volunteers and private donors who make some parks shine.

Friends of Nadaka and the Gresham Japanese Garden are effectively harnessing volunteers and private donations; Ricki Ruiz continues to secure grants to develop futsal courts; and North Gresham Neighborhood Association is poised to build a playground at Kirk Park funded primarily through private donations.

However significant, these isolated projects belie systemic divestment. In recent years, fewer and fewer general fund dollars have gone to parks and recreation. Gresham's almost non-existent recreation programming leaves vital services to underfunded nonprofit organization like Gresham-based Play Grow Learn, which mentors at-risk adolescents using nature-play, urban gardening and athletics in our parks. Relying on nonprofits, grants, private donations, and the generosity of volunteers is not a sustainable path to a vibrant thriving parks and recreation system that bolsters our health and prosperity.

We can do a lot better.
Today, as the fourth largest city in Oregon, Gresham has the lowest per-capita investment in local parks and recreation in the Metro region.

In a hopeful turn, the majority of Gresham voters passed Metro's regional parks and nature funding measure in November 2019. The measure will infuse some additional capital funds into Gresham's local parks system. Public officials should not use that as an excuse to backfill further cuts to parks. Now is the time to launch a parks feasibility study of new local investment options and to give the community greater voice and vote in decisions with innovative tools like participatory budgeting.

As federal stimulus funds become available, Gresham would be wise to creatively invest in the city's backlog in park stewardship and deficient parks programming while putting people to work. The Nadaka Ambassador Program, which employs Rockwood residents to steward the park and garden, is a great model.

In these difficult and uneasy times, we must not lose sight of the value of stewarding our parks and nature which, now more than ever, are helping keep us healthy and connected.

Lee Dayfield is a parks advocate. In 2009, Friends of Nadaka, with Dayfield at the helm, organized the purchase and development of Nadaka Nature Park.

2020 Portland Eastside Farmer's Markets. Garden Fresh Produce Available Year-round

2020 Portland Eastside Farmer's Markets. Garden Fresh Produce Available Year-round. Find a farmer's markets here!

S-t-r-e-t-c-h  your grocery dollar!

Enjoy the freshest produce, flowers, and plant starts direct from the garden.

Healthy and fresh
Farmer’s markets are a fantastic source for fresh, seasonal, locally produced foods and artisan products. Plus, you'll find great activities and fun for the whole family. Come experience the markets. Meet the vendors. Meet local cooks. Enjoy the freshest produce and products. Make your own statement in support of local food.

Want to grow your own vegetables?
Check out Portland Nursery's 12-month "Veggie Calendar" planting guide here.

2020 Portland's Eastside Farmer's Markets

(Complete details on these area markets below)

You'll find plenty of root vegetables, braising greens and lettuces, and of course plant starts for your own vegetable garden.

Bring your reusable shopping bags and plenty of small bills, though some of the markets will trade you a credit/debit card for wooden tokens that all vendors accept, which can be easier to handle than cash. We've indicated those markets that accept EBT or other food assistant coupons.

Download the Wilkes East Neighborhood Spring 2020 Newsletter here!

Download the Wilkes East Neighborhood Spring 2020 Newsletter here! Wilkes East Neighborhood, Gresham Oregon USA. Diversity, Harmony, Community- Together 'WE' can make a difference.

2020 Spring Newsletter

"Diversity, Harmony, Community -
Together 'WE' can make a difference!”

Read it now!

Spring 2020 Newsletter

Inside This Issue:

  • Pining for a Parks District
  • Albertina Kerr Housing Update
  • Wilkes East Land-Use Update
  • Glisan Street Lane Reduction

Download your copy here. (includes active web links)

Newsletters are a regular publication of the Wilkes East Neighborhood Association. They are hand-delivered to over 1,500 residences and businesses in our area 3 times per year, timed to correspond with our regular meetings.

View archive   |   Policy & Ad Rates

Got a story or tip to share?
Wilkes East residents are encouraged to submit articles and tips for the newsletter. Articles should be limited to 300-500 words and may be subject to editing Include a related photo. Send by email to chair@wilkeseastna.org, or by postal mail to: 17104 NE Oregon St • Portland OR 97230.

Volunteers Needed
Newsletters are hand-delivered to Wilkes East residents and businesses by neighborhood volunteers. There are always routes that need delivery people. Routes are small and many. We can always use your help.
To volunteer contact chair@wilkeseastna.org.

Albertina Kerr Workforce and Inclusive Housing Project Update, February 2020

Albertina Kerr Workforce and Inclusive Housing Project Update, February 2020. Gresham campus. Construction starts August 2020. Completion September 2021. Info here!
Albertina Kerr Workforce and Inclusive Housing. Entry, Gresham campus. Click to enlarge.

By: Jeff Carr
CEO, Albertina Kerr

Albertina Kerr continues to move forward and make progress on its Workforce and Inclusive Housing Project to be located on the Gresham campus at 722 NE 162 Avenue. The project will include 150 units, from studios to 3 bedrooms. Since the November Wilkes East Neighborhood meeting where a presentation was made, significant progress has been made:

  • Site due diligence was completed in December 2019 (Geotech, surveying, arborist report)
  • A Design Review Consult was completed with the City of Gresham Community Design Review Committee in December 2019
  • 100% Schematic Design was completed in early January 2020
    Submittals were completed for land use review in early January 2020
  • Albertina Kerr hit the $1 million private fundraising mark in December 2020 and only needs $200,000 more in private donations to hit the total goal of $1.2 million in private donations.

One significant change since the November meeting is that we have decided to pursue making the building “net zero” from an energy use standpoint, which means we will be adding enhancements to make the entire building more energy efficient and producing energy via solar panels to provide enough energy to operate the entire building year-round.

The current timeline for the project is as follows:

Goal Date
Complete 100% schematic design January-2020 - Done
Submit for land use January-2020 - Done
Complete 50% design development February-2020
Land use public hearing March-2020
Complete 100% design development April-2020
Update hard cost & proforma May-2020
Land use approval May-2020
Submit for building permit May-2020
Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) July-2020
Permit Issued August-2020
Construction Start August-2020
Construction Complete September-2021

We continue to be excited about this project and what it will mean for direct care workers at Albertina Kerr and others who care for some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

Architect Images

Alberina Kerr Workforce and Inclusive Housing. Gresham campus. NE 162nd Ave view. Click to enlarge
NE 162nd Ave view. Click to enlarge
Alberina Kerr Workforce and Inclusive Housing. Greshma campus. NE Holladay St view. Click to enlarge
NE Holladay St view. Click to enlarge

About Albertine Kerr
For more than 100 years, Albertina Kerr has been caring for Oregon’s most vulnerable citizens. Over the decades, our services have evolved to meet the community’s needs. While these needs have changed, the values of our expert caregivers remain constant: compassion, commitment, collaboration, and advocacy.

Today, Kerr empowers people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), mental health challenges, and other social barriers to lead self-determined lives and reach their full potential. We provide comprehensive crisis and preventative mental health care for children and teens, as well as a full range of services for children and adults with IDD.

Learn more at www.albertinakerr.org

Nadaka Nature Park future uncertain; community members call for dedicated recreation funding

Nadaka Nature Park won't have much of a reason to celebrate the new year.

Nadaka Nature Park future uncertain; community members call for dedicated recreation funding. Lee Dayfield said a parks district funding mechanism is the best option for maintaining Nadaka Nature Park, which lost its fiscal agent and programming at the end of 2019. Info here!
PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Lee Dayfield said a parks district funding mechanism is the best option for maintaining Nadaka Nature Park, which lost its fiscal agent and programming at the end of 2019. Click to enlarge

By Christopher Keizur
Source: Gresham Outlook (Oct 18, 2019)

The beautiful green space in the heart of the Wilkes East Neighborhood will be empty after losing its fiscal agent — transforming what was once thought of as the model for future parks in Gresham into just another open area. Despite the work that has been poured into the park, residents will have less of a reason to visit than ever before.

"It almost makes me cry to walk through here and know all those kids won't be coming here to be educated," said Lee Dayfield. "This park was their backyard, playground and forest."

There is no better person to talk to about Nadaka Nature Park than Dayfield. She spearheaded the charge to transform her dream park into a reality. She overcame red tape and bureaucracy, founding Friends of Nadaka to help secure grants and other funding.

The Columbia Slough Watershed Council, a Portland-based organization, had supported the Gresham park since its inception. But with some changes to the board and executive director, the group has decided to focus on other projects.

The backing for Nadaka will end when the money runs dry, which is estimated to happen in January 2020. That means no more activities — from community cleanups to educational gatherings for local schoolchildren — that made the park so special.

"They were so strong and supportive of us for seven years," Dayfield said. "People will notice a big difference."

Click "Read more" (below) to continue reading this article.

Syndicate content