PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Parks & Recreation announced it will open a new expansive and more inclusive playground at Southwest Portland’s Gabriel Park.

According to PP&R, the innovative new playground at Southwest 37th Avenue and Southwest Vermont Street has play elements that are unique in the department’s system.

It is more than three times the size of the previous play area, with features allowing access and enjoyment by people of differing abilities – including those using mobility devices and those accompanying them, such as caregivers and friends.

“Inclusive playgrounds are a crucial part of building a sustainable Portland Parks & Recreation,” said Portland Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio. “No child should be deprived a rich play experience, addressing physical, sensory, and social needs, just because a playground was inaccessible. The Gabriel Park play area is inspiring, beautiful, functional, and a key move towards equity and inclusion in our growing parks system.”

A slide featured at the new play area, which is more accessible to people of all abilities, at Gabriel Park in Portland, OR. (Courtesy Photo: Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland, OR)

Gabriel Park’s play area features include an inclusive in-ground trampoline that allows users to wheel — possibly with assistance — or walk onto the feature along with accessible routes to all play equipment.

People can also find a perimeter fence for safety, an inclusive spinner that allows users to wheel or walk on and swings for groups or individuals of varying abilities and ages.

“Portland Parks & Recreation remains committed to centering equity in the delivery of our programs and services,” said Portland Parks & Recreation Director Adena Long. “The inclusive features of the new Gabriel Park playground mean fewer barriers for Portlanders to access the recreation and play opportunities that we all need now more than ever. This playground is a place of exploration and connection, and one all Portlanders will be proud of. It reflects our commitment to an inclusive park system that can meet Portland’s current and future needs.”

The renovated Gabriel Park play area will join Portland’s inclusive playgrounds at Arbor Lodge Park, Couch Park and Gateway Discovery Park, added the department.

The Southwest Portland location means PP&R is one step closer to the goal of an inclusive play area of significant size — a regional destination — in every part of the city. According to the announcement, most new PP&R playgrounds incorporate some inclusive design techniques and accessible elements, including adaptive swings, ramps, slides with platforms, and rubber surfacing.

PP&R said it engaged extensively with the community on the Gabriel Park playground design to ensure it would be effective in accommodating people of differing abilities and developmental levels.

(Courtesy Photo: Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland, OR)

Those who collaborated with the department were members of the Project Advisory Committee, which included people who work with the disability community in the medical and education fields, people who are living with disabilities themselves (or have family members who are), residents at Home Forward’s Stephens Creek Crossing, members of the Somali community, young people and park neighbors.

How was the play area funded?

It was funded by the 2014 Parks Replacement Bond, Parks System Development Charges and PP&R’s Capital Fund ADA Program.

System Development Charges are described as one-time fees assessed on new building development across the city. The announcement said SDCs help ensure that Portland’s quality of life keeps pace with our growing and changing city by providing additional parks and recreation facilities to meet the needs of all Portlanders.

The inclusive play area at Gabriel Park is the 10th PP&R playground to be constructed with funds from the Parks Replacement Bond, which Portland voters overwhelmingly approved in 2014, noted the department. The play area will be open to community members on Saturday, May 14.