PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — At the end of June, a huge new park will open in Northeast Portland — and it’s something that’s been in the making for the last two decades.
Thomas Cully Park is located where a landfill once occupied acres of land, thanks to a unique partnership between the City of Portland and the community.
Lisa and Mark Hatten’s dog Stella now has an off-leash area in Northeast Portland where she can chase birds.
“This is a deluxe park,” Mark said.
At 25 acres with an expansive playground, sports fields, walking paths, a tribal gathering area and more, Cully Park will welcome a community that’s considered park deficient.
“Portland’s Park and Rec goal is to have a park within one half mile of all residents in city limits,” landscape architect with City of Portland Travis Ruybal told KOIN 6 News.
The property, which is now home to Cully Park, was formerly the Killingsworth Fast Disposal Landfill. It went bankrupt and eventually, the city bought the property from the county.
“There’s a methane extraction system on site,” Ruybal said. “Again, an old landfill and so a lot of provisions went into making it safe for the public.”
Transforming the area from a landfill into a park made it more expensive than most parks, but that’s where the community stepped up.
The community had a lot of input — from grade school kids helping with the design to the workers who transformed the property.
Tony DeFalco, the deputy director of Verde, said, “This holistic approach…saying not only do we need a park here, but we need high levels of women and minority contracting. We achieved 70% of women, minority contracting on this park. Multiple benefits of this kind of park.”
The park will serve a community made up of 60% people of color with 40% considered low income.
“Finally, we get to come out here,” DeFalco said. “Kids play in a safe environment, super victory for the community.”
The grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, June 30 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s located off Northeast Killingsworth and 72nd Avenue.