Last month, WW reported that the city was pondering whether to turn a street running along Laurelhurst Park into pickleball courts, a skatepark or another recreational activity. For years, it has been occupied on and off by tents.
Now, it’s official: Portland Parks & Recreation, which will soon take over management of a portion of Southeast Oak Street per an agreement with its owner, the Portland Bureau of Transportation, will build pickleball courts, a “bicycle skills” area, a skateboard half-pipe, benches and bike racks. Confirmation of the transformation was first noted by The Portland Mercury.
Below is a preliminary drawing of the park bureau’s plans for the two-block stretch of Oak Street.
For more than two years, the two-block strip abutting Laurelhurst Park in Southeast Portland has been occupied by dozens of homeless people in tents and cars. For at least two years, neighbors in the affluent neighborhood have lobbied—sometimes successfully—for the city to intervene and sweep the campers.
The camp along Oak Street has already been posted for removal by the city, and construction signage will go up on Monday (Halloween). That means, once again, the campers who have pitched their tents on Oak Street are being forced to pack up and move—often just blocks away.