The Portland Parks Bureau announced on February 24 that it has purchased the Wilkes Headwaters Property, a 20-acre parcel of open space in east Portland.

The property was purchased for $1.96 million dollars, and the Parks Bureau intends to turn the space into a four-acre park and 16-acre natural area.

Beth Sorensen, the Parks Bureau’s spokesperson, says there is no definite timeline for when the park will open due to lack of funding. The first step to opening the park would be to develop a master plan. Sorensen says there is no funding to begin the master plan process, either.

The Parks Bureau will work with the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) to maintain and stabilize the park by removing invasive species and planting native plants. There is also a building on the property that will be removed, Sorensen says.

Alice Blatt, the president of the Wilkes Community Group, says “it’s thrilling” that the City of Portland has acquired the Wilkes Headwaters Property.

“We have been trying to get the city to get this property for many years,” Blatt says. “To say that we are delighted may be an understatement.”

Blatt says the Wilkes Community Group only has one park, the two-acre Wilkes Park, in its entire neighborhood. “Two acres is very small for 8,000 people,” Blatt says.

Blatt says that the new property will not only increase the livability of the neighborhood, but it will also have significant environmental value. The Wilkes Creek runs through the property and Wilkes Park and eventually empties into the Columbia Slough. Blatt says the Community Group, with the Parks Bureau and BES, has worked in the past to have the creek and other water areas qualify as environmentally protected zones.

She also says that increasing industrial and residential development in the Wilkes neighborhood has diminished the tree canopy in the area. “This was the largest piece of property in the Wilkes Community left,” Blatt says.

Blatt says the neighborhood is excited to eventually have a new park, and she looks forward to working with the Parks Bureau to eventually develop a master plan.

“We will be very much involved,” Blatt says.