243 Light Poles Across 12 City Parks Will Soon Vanish

Only two of the parks will get replacements—but not for 16 months.

Portland Parks & Recreation will begin this week to remove 243 light poles from 12 city parks. Only two of the parks—Irving in Northeast and Mt. Scott in Southeast—will get those lights replaced, but it will take 16 months to do so.

Parks officials says it has no means of replacing the light poles in the other 10 parks. The estimated cost of replacing all of the removed lights is $15 million, and the removal and partial replacement of light poles alone will likely cost $5 million.

The bureau says it found structural and anchoring issues with all of the light poles it plans to take down “that could pose life and safety hazards to the public.”

Ten of the 12 parks affected are on the east side of the Willamette River.

The parks bureau says it will increase park ranger presence at the affected parks and close them at 10 pm. Any remaining lights in the impacted parks may be manipulated to maximize their breadth, such as turning lights illuminating the tennis courts to face the park itself. Tim Collier, a spokesman for the bureau, says the most affected parks “will be significantly darker…especially during the winter months.”

The removal comes at a time when the parks bureau is facing $600 million worth of deferred maintenance across its facilities. Earlier this week, WW reported that Rep. Travis Nelson (D - Portland) is crafting a bill that, if passed, would allow the city of Portland to create a parks district—a special municipal district that can levy its own taxes in order to create a stable funding stream for the city’s parks.

The concrete poles removed by the city will be recycled and the light fixtures will go to two nonprofits.

Here are the affected parks:

Colonel Summers Park in Southeast: 12 of the 16 lights will be taken down.

Irving Park in Northeast: 73 of its 78 lights will be taken down. The parks bureau says it plans to replace those lights within 16 months.

Ladd’s Circle Park in Southeast: Four of its 20 lights will be taken down. No funding is yet available for replacements.

Lair Hill Park in Southwest: Five of its nine lights will be removed. No funding is yet available for replacements.

Montavilla Park in Southeast: Six of the park’s 17 lights will be removed. No funding is yet available for replacements.

Mt. Scott Park in Southeast: 18 of its 22 light poles will be removed. The parks bureau says it plans to replace those lights within 16 months.

Mt. Tabor Park in Southeast: 81 of its 216 lights will be removed. No funding is yet available for replacements.

Rose City Golf Course in Northeast: Its one light will be removed. No funding is yet available for a replacement.

Sellwood Park in Southeast: 17 of its 23 light poles will be removed. No funding is yet available for replacements.

Sellwood Riverfront Park in Southeast: 14 of its 17 light poles will be removed. No funding is yet available for replacements.

Woodstock Park in Southeast: Eight of its 25 light poles will be removed. No funding is yet available for replacements.

Wallace Park in Northwest: Four of its six light poles will be taken down. No funding is yet available for replacements.

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