Our neighborhood in Oregon City is steeped in history. There are homes, businesses and public buildings that date back to when the Oregon territory was established. In 1935, a meadow that curved into the landscape was transformed in the first public swimming pool. This became a place where families gathered to keep cool on a summer afternoon, teenagers hung out with their friends and small children learned how to swim. For thirty years, DC Latourette Park was a community asset that brought people together from across the city.
By the mid-sixties, the swimming pool needed to be upgraded, so the community built a new pool a few blocks away. The pool at DC Latourette Park was filled in and paved over, a chain link fence was put up create a tennis court, and a backboard was set up on the upper part of the park. This transformed the neighborhood park into a place where new games were played and new visitors enjoyed the neighborhood. This was 1970, nearly 50 years ago.
In November of 2016, City Repair worked with neighbors to reimagine this neighborhood park to help shape what it can become for future generations. Girl Scout Troop 45064 secured the funds to hire City Repair to facilitate a 3 day park visioning workshop. The girls also promoted, hosted and participated in the workshop. City Repair is one of the few organizations that provide affordable community engagement services which allow neighbors to join together to be the leaders of change in their communities.
Over 50 people participated in the workshop where we played games, created intersection designs, and brought our visions for the DC Latourette Park into focus through park planning activities. Emerging from the workshop was a Core Team of neighbors who have continued worked together to find a way to make the vision a reality. Currently we are have partnered with the National Park Service and their Rivers, Conservation and Trails program to create a broader base of support for the vision, as well as with DePave to begin with Phase 1.
What started as a few girls dreaming about creating a place with fun play activities and where neighbors would want to gather together to spend time on a sunny afternoon, became a neighborhood driven force to bring a new future into DC Latourette Park. City Repair helped us put this vision onto paper. These drawings allow us to communicate a unified vision to city officials and grant funding agencies. In June, we will be starting to remove the pavement in a portion of the park to create the place where nature play structures can be put in. It is beautiful to be involved in making this happen in our neighborhood and to be involved in revitalizing DC LaTourette Park so the next generation of families can enjoy this special place in Oregon City.
Latourette Park is located at 902 11th St. Oregon City, OR 97045. For more information, contact Karen Buehrig at firstname.lastname@example.org.