The last 2018 meeting for Friends of Wilshire Park was held on Wednesday, December 4th at 7:00 pm. In attendence were Gary Hancock, Georgina Head, John Sandie, Al Ellis, Oren Bernstein and Peter Mogielnicki were present. The initial discussion focused on a Mission and Vision statement but it was concluded that since we have readily available fiscal agents with Central Northeast Neighborhood coalition, Northeast Coalition of Neighbors, or the Portland Parks Foundation, it was not necessary to go through the complex process of becoming an independent 501(3)c organization and therefore unnecessary to agree on Mission or Vision statements at this point. The primary purpose of Friends of Wilshire Park remains to make improvements to the park that preserve and enhance its lovely character as a pleasant neighborhood park.
There was some discussion of dog park improvement which recognized that a group of the local community had met the previous week to focus on the dog park and that they seemed to be making some good progress and FWP was generally excited to see that project getting some traction.
The remainder of the meeting was devoted to playground issues. The recent addition of previously planned new toddler equipment was gratefully acknowledged. The replacement of one of the rotting structures with a new play piece will go a long way to providing a place for children to play safely while the group works on replacing the rest of the equipment. There was significant interest in continuing to work towards improving the playground. The discussion focused on two possible paths:
- Begin to fund-raise with the goal of acquiring additional new playground equipment (Gary has catalogs of equipment and planned to review them for potential pieces ). This path has the benefit that it is well defined and straightforward.
- Add natural elements to the playground. This would be quite inexpensive (e.g. logs and boulders which would function as climbing and balancing features, and double as adult seating.) A conceptual drawing of a sandbox improvement was reviewed.
There was also a discussion of a longer term vision for the playground – turning it into a “world class playground”. There was a consensus that that should remain a long term aspiration, but a smaller focused project with good bang for the buck would be the right next step to focus on now. The broken merry-go-round was discussed but no action steps emerged.
Tiffney Townsend was unable to attend but reported through Gary her conversation with Director of Northeast Parks Maintenance Mike Grosso about the feasibility of improving adult seating in the vicinity of the playground by strategically placing several community-funded boulders in the area. Mr. Grosso’s initial response was a positive one but shortly thereafter Tiffney received the following e-mail:
We won’t be able to implement any new improvements until the entire scope of the project is reviewed by PP&R. We have estimates and play themes for the potential toddler area. The Friends were going to determine how much money they can raise for that toddler area project. Jessie Bond was the main PP&R contact, but she has moved on to a different job. I copied her manager, Jennifer Yocom, who can provide us with an interim contact until Jessie’s position is filled.
These ideas for including a nature play element would first need to be reviewed for compatibility and space requirements with the existing traditional play equipment. Estimates would be needed for any potential nature play project and additional funding commitments from the Friends.
Let’s first find out from Jennifer where we are at presently in the overall process and go from there.
The meeting ended with a plan for Gary Hancock and Oren Bernstein to meet with Mike Grosso to clarify his note and explore ways to move forward. Others in attendance will explore other routes toward playground improvement.