Laurelwood Park, SE Foster Rd. and 64th St., has reopened after years of planning and months of construction, turning it into a unique and innovative public space in the Foster-Powell neighborhood.
The project started in 2013 as the Laurelwood Park Vision and Master Plan, part of the continued development along the SE Foster Rd. corridor. It was dormant until 2019 when $1.4 million was allocated from the System Development Charges by Portland Parks Commissioner at that time, Nick Fish.
2020 saw root investigations and the identification of hazardous trees by arborists, permits being secured for the project and the start of the bid process with plans to break ground in early 2021.
As 2021 began, it was anticipated that construction would begin in February and would be completed by the fall. Then COVID-19 took us all by surprise. Though construction continued, the initial fall completion date was extended. The renovations were completed just before the calendar turned.
New pathways extend from the plaza to provide connections to Foster Rd. and the adjacent property. The park design includes two lawn areas and three areas for new planting, plus a location designated to receive an art installation.
Portland Parks & Recreation is working with the Regional Arts & Culture Council and members of the Foster-Powell community on the artist selection process. Once an artist is selected, they will begin work on a piece that will likely be placed in the park near the apex of the property where Foster Rd. and Holgate Blvd. come together.
The plaza and arbor on SE Holgate Blvd. will act as a gathering place and community centerpiece.
Seating walls that extend through the plaza and throughout the park provide places to rest and reflect, in addition to offering a buffer from nearby busy roadways.
“The renovated park is an instant neighborhood showcase and destination,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio. “I look forward to joining neighbors to enjoy the transformed, vibrant public space, as well as the cafes, restaurants and other businesses along and near SE Foster Rd.”
Foster Area Business Association (fosterarea.org) looks forward to future events in the space.