Undeveloped Thomas Park near SW Thomas and 53rd consists of a large grassy open area surrounded by homes on three sides and SW Thomas.
Thomas Park Fall 2000. Photo by Victor von Salza
Future of Thomas Park
Vista Soccer wanted to develop a level play area here, but lack of parking and a park functional plan for the park have that project on hold.
A park functional plan consists of a vision for the park that talks about what types of activities and uses it should support and where. It specifies appropriate management and on-going community involvement and considers how a park relates to and is connected to other parks, to pedestrian and bicycle routes, and to natural resources.
As of 2017, Portland Parks and Recreation has stated that Thomas Park is not a priority for master planning or development. They provided the following reasons:
- Limited funds and other priorities in SWNI for equity reasons as well as past discussions with the Community, including the SWNI parks coalition committee.
- The various steps in parks development are acquisition > master plan > design > development. This is often a very long process due to limited funds. For example, a park in park deficient east Portland was just completed and it was 40 years in the making.
- There is currently no master plan for the property and planning money has to come from very limited general fund dollars and there are other priorities for master plans—especially in park deficient areas.
- In accordance with our service area model – ½ mile walking access to a park – there is existing service already in these neighborhoods by two other parks. Additionally, the land is half outside of Portland City limits—if a park was developed there, it would primarily serve mostly County, not Portland residents to the north.
- The City of Portland focuses on Portland residents with tax and SDC dollars.