Proposed Cully Park Will Create a Regional Gathering Place

Urban parks contribute to our quality of life. As centers of recreational play and personal enjoyment, urban parks or green spaces also provide refuge from city life and a place to reconnect with nature. Cully Park, a proposed 25-acre park at NE 75th and Killingsworth will create highly needed green space for neighbors and residents of the city at large.

The future park will take shape on a now-abandoned landfill closed in 1991. Together with the Portland Bureau of Parks and Recreation and a wide variety of partners, the community group Verde has spearheaded the project, and an agreement was just recently approved in late June by the Portland City Council to move forward with the project. Project partners hope to increase access to open space and nature in Cully, which currently has the lowest level of parkland per resident of any neighborhood in Portland. 

Through an extensive master planning process in 2008 and continued community outreach, the advocates at Verde have amassed over 15 community groups to form the Let Us Build Cully Park! Coalition. Nathan Teske of Hacienda CDC, an organization devoted to supporting housing and employment opportunities for Latino families in Oregon, writes “this park would be a gem for Hacienda’s CDC residents and their families. It’s going to be one of the nicest parks in Portland.” 

The park’s plans are anything but restrained. The master planning process envisions a Cully Park with diverse uses including baseball & soccer fields, community garden, a community gathering area, walking paths, and an off-leash dog area. Connecting the broader park with its broader surroundings will be vistas of Mt. Hood and the scenic Columbia River Gorge, helping foster a sense of urban place in harmony with Oregon’s natural surroundings.

The Cully Park project seeks to provide a gathering place for a community seeking access to greenspaces while simultaneously providing an asset to the Portland region. The next steps of the project include securing park construction jobs for local residents, increase the number of community members in the park planning and construction processes and provide educational opportunities for community youth. It is exciting to see coalitions like Let Us Build Cully Park! come together to with a vision for a more verdant future for NE Portland.  

For more information about the Cully Park and the efforts of Verde and the Let Us Build Cully Park Coalition, be sure to visit the project website and check out the video stories of neighborhood residents. 

This article was contributed by 1000 Friends' volunteer, Daniel Ronan.