Portland Timbers, Thorns donate $65,000 toward Thomas Cully Park project
Northeast Portland's future Thomas Cully Park continues to inch its way toward its $10.6 million reality.
The latest funding contribution of $65,000 comes from the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns soccer teams.
The donation will jumpstart a $500,000 Portland Parks Foundation campaign to meet the total funding needed for Phase I of the park, which, still in construction, is planned to open sometime in the summer.
So far, Portland Parks Foundation Executive Director Jeff Anderson says they've raised about $85,000.
"The construction is ongoing and I'm not aware that there's been any hitches of any sort. At this point it's just a matter of completing the budget and keeping things on track," he said. He hopes the foundation will reach the funding goal by May.
Funding for the project has come from a variety of public and private donations over the last few years. The donation from the Portland Timbers and Thorns helps put a dent in the last leg of funding.
"One of our community pillars is providing access to the kids and to help underserved neighborhoods have recreational outlets and cultural meeting spaces," said Mike Golub, president of business for the Timbers. In the future, players hope to hold clinics and other events at the park.
The teams have worked with the neighborhood before. Four years ago they partnered with nonprofit Hacienda CDC to build a futsal park. Futsal is a variation of soccer usually played indoors and on a hard court.
Since 2010, the Timbers and Thorns have donated $735,227 to develop soccer fields and futsal courts in Portland.
The first phase of the park, constructed by Verde and Portland Parks Foundation, will include a youth soccer field, playground, community garden, walking paths and an Inter-Tribal Gathering Garden. The garden, surrounded by giant boulders that will make up a compass rose, is designed for "cultural celebration and cultivation of native edible plants." The second phase would include ball fields.
The last major funding contribution of $3 million came from Portland Parks & Recreation in October.
The 25-acre former-landfill-turned-park at Northeast 72nd Avenue has been a long time coming. The city purchased the site in 2002 and created a master plan in 2008. It then partnered with Verde in 2011 to develop the park.
It will provide a place for families in the neighborhood who currently don't have close access to a park.
The project is part of a larger effort to revitalize the Cully neighborhood, called Living Cully, a collaboration started in 2010 by several nonprofit agencies focused on equity, diversity and an anti-poverty strategy. Cully neighborhood is considered an underserved community, where 45 percent of residents are low-income.
Anderson says they're trying to "accomplish the trick of not having it gentrified so all the people who are doing this work aren't driven out of the community."
"That's the challenge, but there's a lot of great community leadership and good partners in this, so there's a good chance of creating a community that's really welcoming," Anderson said.