Major work is underway at Blue Lake Regional Park, with even bigger projects to come at the end of the summer – so big, in fact, that the park will need to be temporarily closed to the public to complete them.
Already, some of the initial work on park renovations has taken place, thanks to funding from the 2019 parks and nature bond. This includes removing old and outdated structures and replacing the water lines running to and from the park.
In September, work begins on the next phase, in which the water and sewer lines inside the park are replaced and improved. This work includes digging trenches and moving heavy equipment throughout the park. In order to do that work safely and efficiently, the park will be closed to the public beginning September 5. The park closure is expected to run until spring 2024.
“Metro has never closed an existing park for so long before, so this was a really big decision for us,” said Senior Capital Projects Manager Brent Shelby, who is overseeing the work. “It speaks to the scope of the work we’re doing. Some of the park’s water and sewer lines are more than 50 years old, and they run through much of the park. When we’re done, we’ll have a system that will provide a foundation for a renovated park that can welcome many future generations of visitors.”
Metro expects the disc golf course to remain open during the park’s closure, though parking may be limited.
The water and sewer lines are not the only work taking place at the park. Other projects include:
The park’s fishing pier was closed off when it became unsafe. Metro staff reached out to community members, through both specific engagement with people with disabilities and disability advocates as well as an online survey open to the public. With that feedback, Metro is now moving forward with a plan to remove part of the pier and renovate the remaining portion. Renovations include adding new features to improve ADA accessibility. Metro is currently applying for permits to conduct the work and expects to begin renovations in October.
Operations and maintenance facility
This project will modernize the maintenance hub for operations of Metro's nature parks, improving Metro’s ability to maintain its entire park system and better serve visitors at all its parks. Specific elements of the project include renovating the existing maintenance building and building a new park operations office. Construction work began in July.
Metro staff and contractors have been assessing various aspects of the park to inform where and how construction can take place. This includes inventorying the park’s trees, assessing the picnic shelters, and identifying opportunities for habitat restoration.
Members of a partner cohort were selected from a large pool of applicants. They held their first meeting in June. The partner cohort is one of the ways the project is staying accountable to the core values of the 2019 bond, which include prioritizing the voices of people of color, Indigenous people, people with low incomes, people with varying abilities and other historically marginalized groups who have not benefited equitably from past investments. Partner cohort members will bring a diversity of perspectives through their collaboration with the project team.
The project team is busy planning for additional community engagement to take place this summer. Information on how to learn more about the project and share your thoughts will be posted at oregonmetro.gov/bluelakeplan.