(Graphic: Committee to Improve Access to Mt Tabor Park)
Southeast Portland’s Mt. Tabor Park is one of the most popular open spaces in the entire region — especially for the neighborhoods that border its 190 acres of wooded groves, view points, trails, roads, and picnic areas. Multiple park entrances offer easy access from the north, west, and east; but residents south of the park aren’t so lucky. Now there’s an effort to change that.
Allen Vogt is Chair of the Committee to Improve Access to Mt Tabor Park at 64th. The committee is made up of residents from the South Tabor and Mount Tabor Neighborhood Associations and the Friends of Mt. Tabor Park. Vogt says their goal is to, “Re-invigorate the implementation of a plan previously developed and approved by the City of Portland to build a multi-use access path to Mt Tabor Park from SE Division.”
with Parks maintenance yard on the left.
“Although the Mt. Tabor, North Tabor, and Montavilla neighborhoods have multiple safe and accessible entrances to Mt. Tabor Park on the west, north, and east,” states a flier by Vogt’s group, “there is no good pedestrian or bike access to the park from the south.” The proposed path would begin at SE Division and head north for 280 feet through an existing Portland Parks park maintenance facility (the Mt. Tabor Central Yard and Nursery) to connect to 64th at SE Sherman (see image below). The new path is estimated to cost $139,000 and the committee hopes the get it funded in the current Portland Parks & Recreation budget process (there’s a big public input event on it tonight).
This idea for a new public path on the park’s south side is nothing new. Mt. Tabor’s original 1911 plan called for an entrance at 64th and neighborhood residents have pushed for it ever since. In 2009 Portland City Council adopted an amendment to the Mt. Tabor Park Master Plan that included the path. Vogt says the project was included in Parks’ Capital Improvement Plan last year but was dropped from the list due to limited funds. Now they hope to get it added back to the list.
be built through the Parks Central Yard and Nursery.
(Note: In this view, the park is on the left and Division is on the right.)
The Portland Tribune reported on the project in 2008. They cited several advantages of a paved connection from Division into the park, but they also said some residents oppose the idea due to fears it would attract too much auto traffic and would lead to more residential development in the area. Another issue often cited as a barrier to the path is the right-of-way it would take up through an existing Parks maintenance facility. As one of the larger facilities in the city, Parks has said the 25-feet of width that the path would require is needed to store and park large trucks and other equipment.
Vogt says this project deserves funding now more than ever due to the new bike lanes on SE Division which have brought more bike traffic to the area. More biking and walking traffic is also expected in this location in the future due to PBOT’s plans to install a median island at 64th as part of their Division Street High Crash Corridor Program.
At this point, Vogt and other volunteers on the committee are working to spread the word about the project. They’ve planned a series of public events to answer questions and hear feedback. If you’d like to learn more, email Allen at allen.vogt at gmail.com and/or attend one of the events below…
- 1/13 at 6:30pm @ Friends of Mt Tabor Park (FMTP) Monthly Meeting – contact Mary Kinnick at firstname.lastname@example.org
- 1/15 at 7:00pm @ Mt Tabor Presbyterian Church, 5441 SE Belmont St hosted by the Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA)
- 1/16 at 7:00pm @ Trinity Fellowship, 2700 SE 67th hosted by the South Tabor Neighborhood Association (STNA)
- 1/28 at 6pm @ Warner Pacific, 2219 SE 68th, Egtvedt Hall Room 203 hosted by the Improving Bike/Ped Access to Mt Tabor Park Committee
— Learn more about this project via the City’s 2008 Mt. Tabor Central Yard & Nursery Transportation Study which was posted to Scribd.com by the Tribune.