Jun 1, 2023 - News

Portland's parks are among the best in the U.S.

Data: ParkScore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

With our nearly 12,000 acres of parks — from grassy fields and rose-filled gardens to thick-wooded forests — Portlanders are some of the luckiest people in the country when it comes to access to the great outdoors.

Driving the news: Portland ranks No. 9 among the 100 largest U.S. cities for public parks, per the latest report from the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a pro-parks nonprofit.

By the numbers: Out of 100 (the higher the better), Portland ranked 85 for access, 66 for acreage, 100 for investment, 63 for amenities and 55 for equity.

  • According to Portland Parks and Recreation, there are 154 developed parks within city limits.
  • One of the goals in Portland's Parks 2020 Vision Plan was to ensure every resident had access to a community park within one mile of their home. As of 2023, 85% of households are within a half-mile of a park or natural area, according to PP&R.

The big picture: In Portland, the Parks and Recreation department's operating budget for the fiscal year 2020–2021 was $334 million.

  • According to the National Recreation and Park Association, the typical parks agency has annual operating expenditures of a little more than $5 million.

The bottom line: Parks confer a wealth of benefits — including, as TPL points out in its latest annual report, significant health boosts. Residents of the top 25 ParkScore cities are less likely to report poor mental health or low physical activity.

  • Parks offer spaces for physical activity and social gatherings, improve visitors' moods and provide city dwellers a reprieve from noise and air pollution and the effects of climate change.

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