We’re now in full-on spring. Daffodils and other early flowers are popping up in yards, which means it’s time to plan a trip to Canemah Bluff Nature Park in Oregon City to see the camas meadow burst into blue blooms. Bumblebees are awake and on the move, providing their buzzing soundtrack to the evermore colorful scenery.
We hope you’re able to get out into nature, take in the sunshine, and even soak up some rain now and then.
We have three main updates for you on refinement for the 2019 parks and natural areas bond measure. Bond refinement is the process where Metro turns the bond measure’s values and goals into programs and investments across the region that protect clean water, restore fish and wildlife habitat, and provide opportunities for people to connect with nature close to home.
Bond refinement includes community engagement to make sure communities of color, Indigenous communities, people with low incomes and other historically marginalized communities can meaningfully and effectively influence the programs and how bond dollars are spent.
Be sure to check out our updated timeline of these and other engagement opportunities coming up for each bond program.
Ongoing and upcoming refinement work
At the end of February, the Metro Council appointed the new Natural Areas and Capital Performance Oversight Committee. Independent oversight has been critical to Metro’s parks and nature work, and this committee will ensure our work keeps the promises we made to voters when they approved the bond measure in 2019. Metro staff provide regular reports and updates to the committee, which then looks under the hood, kicks the tires, and makes sure everything is running properly and in line with the vision approved by voters. It reports what it finds to the Metro Council annually. The new committee replaces a similar body that wrapped up their work at the end of 2020.
The committee reflects the values that the Metro Council set forth in the bond resolution, with members that can speak to racial equity, conservation goals, environmental issues, land acquisition, accessibility issues and tribal sovereignty, all who share a passion for and commitment to parks and natural spaces in the region. The individuals on the committee reflect the diversity of greater Portland in geography, perspectives and lived and professional experience.
Staff are planning the first meeting of this committee for mid-April. The committee’s work and schedule will be posted on the Parks and Nature investments web page.
Local parks and nature projects (local share)
Contact: Marcia Sinclair, [email protected]
Local share is the program that distributes bond dollars to greater Portland’s 27 parks providers so they can build projects that serve their local communities. On March 5, parks and nature staff provided a local share program update to the region’s park directors at their quarterly roundtable convened by the Intertwine Alliance and Metro. A new local share program handbook was completed on March 19. It will guide them in selecting projects for local share funding. By May we expect to circulate a submission package that park providers will use to select and propose projects for funding. The materials give clear direction and provide park providers a structure to:
- Conduct and document meaningful engagement with communities of color, Indigenous communities and other historically marginalized communities in planning, development and selection of projects
- Use contracting policies to share bond investments more equitably and increase opportunities for firms owned by women and people of color and firms that help women and workers of color enter the construction trades
- Select projects that meet the threshold of protecting and connecting to nature and building communities’ climate resiliency.
At a March 30 Metro Council work session, staff will highlight key elements of the local share program. Staff will also seek Metro Council direction on streamlining approvals of intergovernmental agreements between Metro and each park provider as well as a process for expediting release of local share dollars to communities.
Metro park improvements
Contact: Metro park improvements: Melissa Bergstrom, [email protected]
We’re so pleased to share that $4 million has been dedicated to the Block 14 cultural heritage garden at Lone Fir Cemetery. Block 14 is the largely empty acre in the southwest corner of the cemetery, along Southeast 20th Avenue and Southeast Morrison Street. For nearly 40 years, starting in 1891, more than 1,131 Chinese people and more than 200 patients from the Oregon Hospital for the Insane were buried at the cemetery, including the eastern portion of Block 14.
A master plan for the garden was developed in 2008 with extensive community engagement, but funding has not been dedicated to the project until now. This project will honor the past and present contributions of Chinese Americans and people who have been institutionalized for many reasons in addition to experiencing mental health conditions.
Our staff is working to establish the project scope and team with input from the Lone Fir Cemetery Foundation. During this project, we will engage with new and longtime partners including the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, the Buckman Neighborhood Association, the Oregon Chinese Coalition, the Mental Health Association of Portland, the Chinese American Citizens Alliance and the Portland Chinatown History Foundation.