By Don MacGillivray
Next summer there should be an interesting new water feature in Col. Summers Park to replace the existing circular wading pool.
The new water feature, known as a “Splash Pad,” has received much attention over the past year from Portland Parks and Recreation in association with the Colonel Summers Task Force and the Buckman Community Association in their efforts to improve Colonel Summers Park.
It will be a linear stream-like water course that can be turned on by the those using it. The water will flow for a set period of time to the end of the water course where it will slowly drain out. In this way the water does not need to be chlorinated. Water jets will shoot out all along the stream.
Picnic tables, seating, and landscaping appropriate to a stream-like environment will enhance the area for both users and observers. The design is in its final phase of development and construction will occur next spring. Hopefully it will be enjoyed by everyone all summer.
Funding will be provided by the local System Development Charges by developers of the new buildings being built in the area. Fifty members of the Buckman community attended the two meetings to review the plans and 400 nearby residents provided comments by email that generally were in favor of the project
The brick pavilion, a major feature of the park, will be the first of the park improvement project. Over the years it has not been used appropriately and its bathrooms have received heavy use causing them to be closed much too often.
The major project within the pavilion are the ornamental metal screens in the vaulted openings of the pavilion to provide improved access and security. They are being fabricated now and are expected to be installed by late fall or early winter.
A new free standing restroom will be placed to the east of the pavilion. It will be one of the newly-designed Portland Loos that are simple, but sturdy flush toilet kiosks that are located in public areas. Portland Loos provide the community with clean, safe, environmentally-friendly restroom facilities.
Funded through the $68 million Parks Replacement General Obligation Bond that was passed overwhelmingly by the voters in 2014, the Loo will be installed next spring along with the Splash Pad.
The park is named in honor of Colonel Owen Summers when Belmont Park was renamed in 1938. Summers was a prominent businessman, a member of the Oregon Legislature, and the commanding officer of the Second Oregon Volunteer Regiment in the Spanish-American War.
Perhaps he is best known for the significant role he played in the creation of the Oregon National Guard. In the SW corner of Colonel Summers Park, there is a large volcanic rock with his image on a bronze plaque along with a description of his contribution to Portland and Oregon.