Feb 6, 2024 - News

Portland's ideas for Darcelle Plaza include drag and dogs

An architectural rendering with speech bubble sticky notes with comments on  people on a plaza

At an open house, Portlanders added their wishes for Darcelle XV Plaza, which opens in spring 2025.  Photo: Joseph Gallivan/Axios

Portlanders' vision for Darcelle XV Plaza includes an LGBTQ+ walk of fame, a dog park, and a permanent performance stage.

Why it matters: Slated to open in late spring 2025, the park could revive a blighted block that has been closed since 2018.

Driving the news: Portland Parks & Rec held a public meeting Sunday to tweak the design for a new park at SW Washington and Ninth Avenue.

  • Members of the public talked with planners and left comments on the printed renderings.
  • Some people asked for more lighting, drag shows and moveable seats.

What they're saying: "I hope they do an art walk," Isabel Peistrup told Axios, meaning a space where artists display their work.

  • She moved to NE Portland from Los Angeles a year ago and said she would have no qualms about walking Luna, her German shepherd-husky mix, downtown to this park.
  • "I want to be involved in the revamp of Portland," she said.

Details: In 2023, Parks and Rec held a call for design ideas but picked up the pace for proposals last year.

  • David Goodyke, landscape architect at NNA Landscape Architecture, said the city then asked his firm for an interim design.
  • Those early ideas included ramps, food carts and a large butterfly sculpture.

Of note: NNA is keeping it simple (and within the $7 million budget) by planning for a flat space in front of a permanent stage, and some steps leading to another flat space, similar to Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Portland Parks & Rec has an established process for involving the public in new building projects.

What we're watching: When the park opens in 2025, the Center for Public Interest Design at Portland State University will study the way people use it, and NNA will come up with a permanent design in five to 10 years.

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