Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

$500,000 Legion Park project OK'd


City approves rehabilitation, despite higher-than-anticipated costs

Photo Credit: TYLER FRANCKE | WOODBURN INDEPENDENT - Alicia Morales, 2, and her mother, Antonia, both of Woodburn, play at the Legion Park playground last week. The Woodburn City Council has approved its share of a significant rehabilitation project at the city’s oldest park, despite higher-than-anticipated costs.

The project at Legion Park includes the installation of a new pavilion, a new asphalt pathway, storm drain system improvements and irrigation and landscaping improvements.

The city received a $278,000 grant for the project last year from the state’s Parks and Recreation Department’s Local Government Grant Program, which is funded by lottery dollars.

Initial estimates by the city’s engineer were that the total of the project would cost approximately $423,000, but that proved to be overly optimistic.

The total cost of the bid approved during the council’s July 28 meeting was $488,000, with the city responsible for close to $210,000 of that through its parks system development charges (SDC) fund.

According to Community Services Director Jim Row, the initial calculations were probably underestimated on the city’s part, but the primary factor is that new building in the residential and commercial sector has noticeably ticked up since the project was first estimated.

“The construction market has heated up quite a bit,”?Row said. “When we first started this project, it was nowhere near as competitive as it has been.”

The project was put out to bid twice. The first time the bids were opened, in June, it turned out that there was an error in the calculation of the low bid such that the project had to be re-bid.

The low bid this round was awarded to the Woodburn-based contractor Nomarco Inc.

“We’ve been concerned about the cost of this project for a little while now,” Row told the council. “We tried to reduce the scope of the project and went though a couple rounds of trimming around the edges, and even then the bids came out higher than we were expecting and hoping for.”

The city has enough to cover the higher cost of the project in its parks SDC fund, a dedicated source of funding that can be spent only on park development. Row said the only lasting impact of the higher cost would appear to be that it will take longer for the SDC fund to be replenished enough for the city to consider another major capital project.

“It’s probably going to take a few more years to get to the point that we feel comfortable taking on another significant park project,” he said.

The rehabilitation project at Legion has already begun with the installation of a new sign and the removal of some deteriorated fencing and a light pole. A number of trees were also felled in the park on the advice of a professional arborist, some of which were able to be milled and converted into lumber for the planned pavilion.

Row said that using these trees for the project, even with milling and removal costs, saved the city about $14,000.

He said the new pavilion, which will replace the current structure, is “designed to be a very large-timber, roughshod design.”

“You’re going to see a lot of wood in this structure,” Row said. “That’s really the appearance we were going for and the one we thought would be most appropriate at this facility.”

Even so, it will also include restroom facilities, a storage area and a food prep/cleanup area for the use of those who hold events at the park, like the annual Fourth of July Chuckwagon Breakfast.

Row said major construction work is expected to begin as soon as possible, with the completion date set for the end of the fall.

“It’s a magnificent project that we’re ready to complete,” Row said. “I?think it really will be a tremendous addition to the park and the neighboring community and the parks system as a whole.”

Tyler Francke covers all things Woodburn. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-765-1195.