Nadaka Nature Park and Garden Project
In 2009, Audubon Society of Portland worked with the Wilkes East Neighborhood Association, Trust for Public Land, and the City of Gresham to purchase a 2-acre undeveloped parcel known as the Nelson Property. Thanks to funding from Metro and East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD), the successful acquisition of the Nelson property provides a key connector from park-deficient Rockwood Neighborhood to a difficult to access 10-acre natural area previously known as the Nadaka Open Space located just north of NE Glisan. Nakaka Open Space was purchased in 1995 with voter-approved funds from Gresham’s 1990 Open Space Bond Measure but remained fenced with only limited access to the north for over 12 years. With the purchase of the Nelson Property, people are now able to access the Nadaka natural area from the south, providing new neighborhood access to nature for over 4700 residents mostly in the Rockwood Neighborhood and Town Center. Since opening last October, the Nelson Property provides a safe, nature-rich route to school for many HB Lee Middle School students.
Audubon Society of Portland continues to work with local advocate Lee Dayfield, the Wilkes East Neighborhood Association and other community groups on the Nadaka Nature Park and Garden Project. The project brings together diverse community organizations to develop and maintain a community garden, orchard, rain garden, natural meadow, restrooms, and nature-based play area on the Nelson Property. Existing and potential partners include City of Gresham, Human Solutions, Rockwood Action Group, St. Aidens Church, Eastrose Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, and Verde. Potential capital funding for improvements could come from the City of Gresham, Metro, EMSWCD, and State Parks.
When built, the neighborhood park will provide a “front door” to the combined Nadaka Nature Park & Garden providing a stronger linkage to the Rockwood Town Center, one of the youngest, most diverse, and most populous 2040 Town Centers in the Portland-Metro region. The new garden and natural features will also be within ¼ mile walking distance from Human Solutions's new Rockwood Building that will provide 47 new units of affordable rental housing units when completed this year. By linking expanded access to nature with permanent investments in affordable housing, the Nadaka Nature Park and Garden Project realizes a key strategy of the Coalition for a Livable Future’s Equity Action Agenda to make access to nature more equitable in perpetuity.