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Open house: Mt. Tabor Central Yard & Nursery Planning Group

Posted in City Hall, open government, politics with tags , , , , , , on July 30, 2008 by Pete Forsyth

The Mount Tabor Central Yard & Nursery Planning Group is a collaborative effort between concerned citizens and City employees, developing a plan to redesign Portland’s central parks maintenance and support facility. Our mission is to enhance the facility’s ability to support all Portland parks, and provide a safe and efficient work area for the various Parks employees who use the site.

We’ll be hosting our second major open house this weekend, to present our work to date and solicit feedback. Our architect, Opsis, will be showing several drafts for a redesign of the site.

There will be a couple of other opportunities to see the plans as well, listed below; and hopefully we’ll be able to get them online as well.

The process is beginning to take shape recently, now that we’ve completed the “homework” phase, held one open house, and hired Opsis. We recently took a straw poll of participants, exploring our priorities for the site. We found a significant lack of support for bringing much of the Urban Forestry department’s operations into the site, or for moving a large piece of equipment for making wood chips from the park into the yard. Other projects, such as enhancing the existing maintenance, horticultural and community garden services, had much more support from the group.

There have been some changes in the City’s facilitation team for our project. Elizabeth Kennedy-Wong, who worked with us last fall but left for some maternity time, has returned; and Jon Makler, one of the two project managers and the primary facilitator of our meetings, has resigned. His steady hand will be missed.

Going forward, of particular concern is that one group member’s research and questions don’t seem to be getting answered. The zoning and land use aspects of our project are somewhat unclear, and yet will have a strong impact on what we’re able to do. The two major questions are what property the Water Bureau owns (since the Water Bureau has some interests that are likely to conflict with other parties — see below), and also the land use designations of various parcels, which will impact where we can locate certain services. Continue reading