This Week in the Mercury


Thursday, October 3, 2013

East Portland's "Gateway Green" Cruises to Crowdfunded Success

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Thu, Oct 3, 2013 at 12:44 PM

People will crowdfund anything—it's become an ironic joke we play on ourselves to grow smugly poorer. But Gateway Green's recent success is good news.

The proposed mountain bike park and public green space between interstates 84 and 205 easily reached an $100,000 funding goal sometime in the last 18 hours. The tally has shot up more than $100 even as I wrote this post— it's at $100,430 with five days left to go.

People are effusive about this project. Portland's mountain biking community—still largely stymied in its yearnings for Forest Park access—say Gateway Green is a chance to build "one of the best bike parks in the world." East Portland boosters say the land will add much-needed green space east of 205.

Here's a video:

The praise—things like "This is a place you can feel the wind and hear the trees and see the birds"—may be a touch hyperbolic. The plot is, after all, wedged between two busy expressways. Anyone who's ridden the I-205 bike path, right next to the 24-acre site, can attest to the cloying reek of car exhaust during peak drive times (supporters say that could be fixed with more trees). But it's also a fairly innovative and collaborative approach to improving a neglected portion of town.

The Oregon Department of Transportation owns the land—former site of Rocky Butte Jail— but has agreed to turn it over to the City of Portland for a little more than $19,000. The city will pay for upkeep when the park is finished, but the project's considerable cost will (hopefully) come from donations.

This first $100,000 will pay for a park master plan, which backers will use to pitch further, more-massive fundraising efforts.

"I love this because it’s truly a grass-roots effort," says Chris Masciocchi, an East Portland resident and long-time supporter of the project. "This is the the most diverse place in all of Oregon, but we’re getting killed by neglect."

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