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Wilmington approves contract to improve Northside's Portia Mills Hines park

Portia Mills Hines Park

City Council voted unanimously last night to fund long-delayed improvements to a North Side park.

Portia Mills Hines Park missed the boat when it came to funding improvements during the parks bond package back in 2016 -- since then, neighborhood residents have asked for better facilities in the park.

The park is located on 10th and Walnut- a2.7 acre lot developed in one small section with a playground and basketball courts. The rest of the park is an empty field.

Back in 2018, a local youth group called Blue Ribbon Commission’s Voyage Youth Leadership Council brought the issue to the city council’s attention.

The group told council members at the time that they were disappointed by the park’s absence from the $38 million parks bond, most of which was used to develop Riverfront Park.

Money from the bond was also used for improvements to Olsen Park in Murrayville, which isn't within city limits, but is a joint venture with the city and county.

Councilman Kevin Spears spoke directly to the youth who advocated for park improvements just before the city council voted.

"Shout out to the kids who came here two years ago and kind of started the project," Spears said. "And I wanted to say to them that the system works. It works. It may take a minute, but it does work.”

In 2019, a year after the youth gave testimony at a city meeting, council members voted to appropriate funds for the project. It went to bid this spring, and Council chose Paragon Building Corporation to build the new improvements. The body voted unanimously in favor of that ordinance.

The park will get a pavilion, bathrooms, new lighting, sidewalks, and a parking lot. It’ll cost a total of $643,758. The council also passed a resolution adding $57,900 to the project budget as a contingency fund.

Portia Mills Hines Park (field)
Much of Portia Mills Hines Park is unimproved, but that's set to change with the planned improvements.

Kelly Kenoyer is an Oregonian transplant new to the East Coast. She attended University of Oregon’s School of Journalism as an undergraduate, and later received a Master’s in Journalism from University of Missouri- Columbia. Contact her on Twitter @Kelly_Kenoyer or by email: KKenoyer@whqr.org.