11-17-2018  6:28 pm      •     
Cully Park in Portland, Oregon
Portland Parks & Recreation
Published: 26 June 2018

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) and Verde announce the grand opening of the new 25-acre Cully Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Northeast  72nd Avenue, just north of Killingsworth.

The new city park is the result of years of community efforts, fundraising and advocacy in tandem with Portland Parks & Recreation funding in the diverse, park-deficient Cully neighborhood.

The Cully and PP&R communities, including Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Interim Director Kia Selley, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, and other elected officials and special guests will be there. The event will include live music from Dina y Los Rumberos, plus Native American drumming and storytelling, a scavenger hunt, a youth soccer clinic and more. The event is free, family-friendly and open to all.

Please visit the Cully Park grand opening Facebook page facebook.com/events/388102114998905/ for details on parking and other event information.

The community, let by the non-profit Verde, spearheaded the park’s development through the Let Us Build Cully Park! coalition; and Portland Parks & Recreation supplemented funding to make the park a reality after years of fundraising, planning, and anticipation. The project has transformed a former landfill (and before that, a sand and gravel mine) into a developed, 25-acre city park in Portland’s Cully neighborhood, one of the most diverse in the entire state of Oregon.

All park features have been designed and built through a deep commitment to community engagement and economic opportunity.  Cully Park includes:

  • Native Gathering Garden -- this unique feature will offer opportunities for honoring and educating about indigenous cultural values and ethics through holistic, culturally-significant garden design and maintenance. The site is intended as a catalyst for strengthening and healing relationships (between people, nature, and place) throughout our city. This work is centered on honoring, respecting, and educating through Indigenous cultural values.
  • A playground combining traditional play, nature play and inclusive elements.
  • The playground includes sand and a water play area
  • A dog off-leash area (nearly half an acre in size)
  • Restrooms
  • Walking paths
  • An overlook, picnic areas, and habitat restoration
  • A parking lot with 50 spaces
  • A Portland Community Garden (completed previously)
  • A youth soccer field
  • A Portland Community Garden (established and used since 2012)
  • Covered shelters
  • Space for two future baseball fields, full-size soccer field, and other park features when funding for the next phase of the park is determined 

The park’s main entrance, with a 50-space parking lot, is off NE 72nd Avenue, north of Killingsworth Street. Verde has redeveloped this entry point, transforming it into the “NE 72nd Greenstreet” - combining needed transportation improvements with innovative environmental elements. Note: for the grand opening, the parking lot at NE 72nd Avenue will be reserved primarily for guests with mobility concerns and elderly visitors and is expected to be full. The nearby Sheraton Hotel will provide shuttle buses from the Living Cully Plaza at 6723 NE Killingsworth Street to the park entrance.

The parking lot at NE 72nd Avenue will be reserved primarily for guests with mobility concerns and elderly visitors and is expected to be full. The nearby Sheraton Hotel will provide shuttle buses from the Living Cully Plaza at 6723 NE Killingsworth Street to the park entrance.

Cully Park’s completion means that 517 Portland families who did not previously have any park or natural area within a half-mile now do. The Cully area is one of the most diverse and park-deficient neighborhoods in the state. This area, and parts of east Portland, do not yet enjoy the same access to parks and green spaces as the rest of the city. Fifty-three percent of residents in Cully Park’s service area are people of color (city average is 28 percent), and 27 percent are households below poverty status (city average is 15%).

The funding for Cully Park’s unique public/private partnership comes from Parks System Development Charges and private donations. Verde, which spearheads the Let Us Build Cully Park! Coalition (a non-profit coalition of more than 15 community-based organizations), raised an eye-popping $7 million in donations from more than 50 partners and sources, including grants. Verde and the coalition worked tirelessly for years to cultivate financial support for the park. Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz dedicated just over $6 million ($6.02M) in System Development Charge (SDC) revenue towards the park’s construction. SDCs are one-time fees assessed on new development to cover a portion of the cost of increased infrastructure demands.

Later this summer Cully Park will host Festival Latino, at Cully Park on Aug. 11 from 4 p.m. until after sunset. This multicultural annual festival includes a soccer tournament, Zumba and Pound fitness activities with live music, and a showing of the popular movie Coco en español.

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