Metro opened two new parks during the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Newell Creek Canyon Nature Park lies in the heart of Oregon City, offering a respite for both community members in the neighborhood and visitors from across greater Portland. Chehalem Ridge Nature Park, just south of Forest Grove, provides more than 10 miles of trails, including three miles of trails for all ages and abilities.
Building new parks often takes years. After a thoughtful planning process and community engagement to help shape the vision for a site, the Metro Council considers approval of a formal master plan for a site. Design, engineering and construction drawings must then be completed, land-use and development permits need to be approved, and money for construction and long-term operations must be secured before construction can begin.
When voters passed the 2019 parks and nature bond, Metro promised to take care of what we already have. Renovation and renewal work at Blue Lake Regional Park moved forward throughout the year. A route was surveyed for a water line that will connect the park to Fairview’s water system, which in turn set up other major improvement projects that began in the second half of 2022 at the beloved park.
No rainy days stopping Chehalem Ridge
The grand opening of Chehalem Ridge Nature Park began somewhat inauspiciously, with a cold and heavy rain that drenched the landscape and poured down the sides of the pop-up tents set up in the meadow at the park’s entrance.
Metro’s newest park had officially opened in late 2021, but a community celebration had been delayed until mid-June in the hopes of having better weather by then. Alas, those plans were foiled by the region's unseasonably wet late spring.
But who in the Pacific Northwest lets a little rain spoil their fun? As guests arrived, they warmed themselves with cups of tea brewed by Metro staff from plants found in the park’s forest. Children lined up for free face painting and then posed for pictures at a free photo booth.
A group from Centro Cultural’s Edad de Oro senior-support program settled themselves under one of the park’s two large picnic shelters to enjoy free sopes and tacos from Cocina Mexico Lindo. After happily snacking and chatting, they headed to the other shelter, where they could better enjoy the tracks being spun by DJ Rahel. Soon, they’d started their own dance party, raindrops glistening like diamonds on their rain ponchos as they stepped and swirled to the cumbia beat.
“Yesterday, we invited the seniors and we told them what the weather forecast said,” said Centro Cultural staff member Yolanda Valenzuela. “Everyone still wanted to come.”
“It’s such a happy thing to enjoy the park,” said Beaverton senior Julia Ramirez, speaking through a translator. “I want to come back, maybe take a walk and have a picnic with family and friends.”
From “A place worth returning to: Despite rain, Chehalem Ridge Nature Park grand opening brings bright cheer”