Grant Park Field Improvements - Public Process Timeline
(1) November 2004 - April 2006: Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) met seven times and was lead by Lloyd Lindley, Friends of Grant Athletics (FGA).
Members: Katherine Bang, Michael Heymann, and Michael Kinney (Grant Park NA), Andy Mones (neighbor), Doug Capps (neighbor, not at PPS at that time), Dennis Lisk (Beaumont/Wilshire NA), Brad Perkins (Irvington NA), Mary Evans (GHS Student Body President), Keeley McAnnis-Entenman (GHS Executive Council) Jacque Sage (GHS Athletic Director), Greg Cotton (GHS Teacher/Coach). Additional Attendees: representatives from GPNA also attended several meetings as observers including Elizabeth Beaghley, Cliff Gibbs, Merryl Mix, and Patty Sullivan.
(1) Several people in the neighborhood called PP&R about project and were told that PP&R had nothing to do with project that Lloyd Lindley was in charge. About a year later, Lisa Turpel of PP&R, told a GPNA meeting that PP&R had been involved as an advisor for the past year and had helped to outline a public involvement process. There are no known minutes of these meetings and the times and locations were not public and moved without public notice. There were no votes as all decisions were based on "consensus." The members of the advisory group were pretty much hand picked. In an early meeting with the GPNA, Lloyd stated that his group was exploratory in nature and if there was "any" opposition, he would back off.
(2) January 6, 2005: GHS Staff Focus Group
Members: Tony Broadus (Men's Basketball), Karry Cameron (Wrestling), Brian Chatard (Vice Principal), Greg Cotton (Track and Field, Cross Country), Sue Davis (Cheerleading), Debbie Engelstad (Soccer/Softball Coach), Bill Griffin (Assistant Football Coach), Diallo Lewis (Football Coach), John Mears (Track), Joe Rodrick (Women's Basketball), Jacque Sage (Athletic Director), Brick Street (Women's Volleyball), Jim Tucker (Women's Basketball).
(2) It is not surprising that this group was predisposed to the project in its totality. The original proposal would have included lights and a stadium and a new girls softball field nest to Hollyrood. This was a very narrow focus group with an outcome that was totally predictable.
(3) July 14, 2005: Community Users of Grant Park Focus Group
Members: Eddie White-Skyhawks (Regional Manager of Skyhawks youth sports program), David Pietka (All comers Track Meets), Sue Ostad (Nathan Thomas Soccer Tournament), Damon Miller (Police Activities League), Chris Page (Hollywood Little League). Also attending: Greg Cotton (GHS Track and Cross Country Coach), Jacque Sage (GHS Athletic Director), Diallo Lewis (GHS Head Football Coach), David Austin (Grant Park NA), Lloyd Lindley - Friends of Grant Football, Inc., Judy Lindley
(3) This group was also predisposed to the big picture proposal by the Friends Group as they were all promised increased access to the field for their sports. No one can predict if their level of support would be different now based on the adjustments to the final draft including no increase in use of the fields. The current proposal for Little League is to have no sliding boxes, no natural mound, and no cutouts for batting boxes. This may have affected their level of support.
(4) October 2005: Neighborhood Groups - Meetings held with Beaumont/Wilshire Neighborhood Association, Alameda Neighborhood Association, and Irvington Community Association. Members of the CAC met subsequently with both to follow up on issues and refinements to the draft proposal.
(4) The original proposal given these neighborhoods was that there would be $0 tax dollars involved in the building of the field or funding for replacement. The final project does involve tax dollars and has no replacement mechanism.
(5) January 2006: Mailed questionnaires to 4,000 neighbors -- close to 200 responded to survey.
(5) It was reported that some of these surveys were handed out after youth soccer games with instructions on the "correct" way to fill them out. The GPNA also carried out a survey delivered with the newsletter that to our knowledge was never considered by the Friends Group. The responses showed support for improving the grass fields but majority opposition to installing synthetic turf.
(6) January 2006 - Grant Park Open House #1 - 4,000 postcard invitations. The Open House was held in the GHS library and was well attended by 200 neighbors, PPS staff, representative from PP&R, NA, GHS students and staff, etc. The full scope proposal was presented and feedback was collected.
(6) Unfortunately people who questioned the project were made to feel unwelcome and were shouted down several times. There was also a technique of "voting" with stickers which allowed people to put all of their allocated stickers on single items, therefore measuring emotional support rather than numerical support.
(7) January - December 2007 - Grant Park Neighborhood Association Meetings. Doug Capps (PPS) and Lisa Turpel (PP&R Manager) attended 3 GPNA meetings to re-cap process, share intentions of moving forward, and answer questions.
(7) The key here is they "told" us of their intentions to move forward, they didn't ask for input, they accepted the desires of the Friends group as a final vetted product. The GPNA had set up an ad hoc committee to study the proposal from the Friends group but we were asked not to evaluate the proposal until it was in final draft form. Many people did do research individually on health safety and livability issues but they were never presented to the committee or any other group. When we decided that the last draft was the final draft. We were told that the project was out of Lloyd's group because of the dual ownership of the property by PPS and PP&R, so they had to take over. We were assured by the then head of facilities from PPS that there would be no money spent by the school district until a full public hearing was heard by PPS. It never happened.
(8) April 26, 2008 - Community Open House #2 - Postcard invitations were sent to surrounding neighborhoods of Grant Park, Alameda, Irvington and some in Hollywood and Beaumont/Wilshire. The event was also posted in Grant High School and in the park. The proposal presented was significantly scaled back from the initial proposal, based on the neighborhood feedback.
(8) The main reason the proposal was scaled back was to avoid a Type III hearing. That can be substantiated from meetings with BDS, PP&R and PPS involved, as well as internal memos from PP&R. It seems they wanted to avoid a full public hearing at any cost, even if it meant scaling back the proposal. The PP&R Director had assured a group of citizens at a meeting of the Parks Board that there would be a Type III hearing. It never happened.
(9) February 12, 2009 - Roundtable meeting with Commissioner Fish - The Chair of the Grant Park Association attended this meeting and the intent to move forward was made clear.
(9) The Commissioner had just taken over PP&R in his portfolio and invited a group of supporters and the Chair of GPNA to a meeting. The meeting ran long and all the GPNA representative had time to say was that there were unresolved issues and neighborhood opposition. In fact in notes of the meeting supplied by Fish's staff, it stated:
"Geoff Hyde, a representative of the Neighborhood Association, was asked if it would be a good for the Commissioner to attend an upcoming Grant Neighborhood meeting. Hyde agreed to get back to the Commissioner.
Commissioner Fish expressed interest in hearing feedback from community members. The City did not make any formal commitment at this time."
And in a follow up email on this topic;
The Commissioner has not made any decisions regarding Grant Park field improvements.
As the new Commissioner-in-Charge of Parks and Recreation, he called the "Great Fields" meeting so that he could be clear on the status of this effort. As you saw, the purpose of the meeting was for him to get an update on the planning stages and to ask clarifying questions.
At this time, PP+R has no formal commitment to this project - that is why you won't find anything on the website.
You asked for the amount that the city will contribute - but this has simply not been decided. We are in the stage of gathering information and assessing all of the options.
Commissioner Fish stated at the meeting last week that his hope is for Portland's youth to have sports facilities that meet safety and regulation standards. He will ensure an open and transparent process as we move toward reaching this goal.
I have submitted the meeting notes to the Commissioner for review and I'm hoping that he will approve them by the end of the day today. We have had a very busy week and he is working on a lot of big issues, including bureau budgets.
Association, because he values your participation and input. At the meeting he asked about current challenges and possible solutions, and will continue to seek community comment.
(10) March 30, 2010 - Grant Park Neighborhood Association Board Meeting. Eileen Argentina and Lisa Turpel (PP&R managers) attended the Grant Park Neighborhood Association board meeting to share the draft MOU and answer questions.
(10) The visit was to tell us what they were going to do, not to get input. There were no changes made to the MOU based on those conversations.
(11) April 14, 2010 - City Council Hearing: Grant Park Field Improvements MOU. The MOU was presented at a City Council public hearing. PP&R invited FGA, PPS, and GPNA to testify in front of City Council.
(11) I was notified by Commissioner Fish's staff that:
"We are scheduled for a Time Certain on April 14th at 10:15am. Commissioner Fish would like to invite each of you to present to Council. We will have a very limited time frame, so please prepare your remarks to fit within the 3 minute time slots."
- Invited Testimony - 9 min
- PPS Administration - 3 min
- FGA - 3 min
- Neighborhood Association - 3 min
I informed some other people that had been interested in testifying that they would not be allowed to. It turned out that PPS and Friends of Grant Athletics had multiple people testifying for 20-30 minutes. I was allowed to go beyond three minutes but I had only prepared for three and was not as effective as I could have been. It also turned out that the Commissioners had already prepared their acceptance comments for the project before the testimony.
(12) April 21, 2010 - City Council Approves the MOU. The MOU is not a binding contract, but a document designed to communicate the intent to move forward with capital improvements if and when funds are raised by FGA.
When you look at the website of Friends of Grant Athletics, www.friendsofgrant.org/default.htm you definitely don't get the feeling that they are just fund raising to go to the next step, in fact there is a project manager and a timeline.
For annotation of anything here and more information on research done on this project by the citizens involved, contact Geoff Hyde at firstname.lastname@example.org You may also want to read the Public Involvement policies and procedures of PP&R, PPS and the City of Portland.
In the 'Hood