Photo by Bruce Forster

We’ve heard from members, guests, volunteers, and staff that getting to Portland Japanese Garden has become difficult as more and more people visit Washington Park. Parking is scarce, roads are congested, and mass transit options are limited.  We share your frustration!  We have repeatedly conveyed this concern to Portland Parks & Recreation to inform their master planning process for Washington Park. The Oregon Zoo, Children’s Museum, and Forest Discovery Center have all repeatedly communicated the same concern to Portland Parks & Recreation. In spite of this, the new Master Plan for Washington Park which is scheduled to be approved by City Council on March 15 does not address this concern.

Under the Master Plan, no new parking will be added to Washington Park.  Current parking along SW Kingston (near the tennis courts) will be moved significantly further away – to the current soccer field area.   Moreover, the Master Plan does not add any other public transit access options to the Japanese and Rose gardens.  In fact, Tri-Met says they will be unable to continue to provide bus service to and within Washington Park under this Master Plan.  And the Master Plan will add new attractions in between the Japanese and Rose Gardens (glass conservatory, Visitor Center, café, food carts) so there will be more things for people to do at the Park at the same time that it will be harder to get to the Park.

We urge you to tell City Council about your concerns with the Washington Park Master Plan.  Write a letter, send an email, or attend the City Council Meeting on March 15 to ask that the Council delay approval of the Washington Park Master Plan.  Ask City Council to direct Portland Parks & Recreation to work collaboratively with the cultural institutions, Tri-Met, and the adjoining neighborhoods to create solutions to access to the Park and incorporate those solutions into the Master Plan.

Portland Japanese Garden’s leadership strongly believes that approving a Master Plan without understanding the ramifications and limitations it places upon parking, congestion, and all forms of transportation, is unwisely hasty and hamstrings the City’s ability to explore viable access solutions.  There are many good elements within the Master Plan that will ensure Washington Park’s status as world-class. As stewards of this remarkable Park, the Garden agrees with the goal of reducing our collective reliance on cars. However, we also want to ensure our guests, our members, our volunteers, and our employees can actually get to the Garden in a reasonable way. As the City Council determines the fate of Washington Park for the next 50 years, it is only prudent to ask them to delay the Master Plan another year or two knowing that in the end, the result will be a more robust vision for the future.

Our message to City Council: Delay the approval of the Washington Park Master Plan until a full plan has been developed for solving access to the Park so that the Master Plan can holistically propose projects and solutions for Washington Park.


City Council Details

March 15th Meeting Details

  • Date/Time: Thursday, March 15, 2:00 to 5:00pm
  • Location: 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Council Chambers, City Hall, Portland, OR

P.S.  If you plan to attend the City Council meeting, please check this link after March 9th to see if the vote on the Master Plan has been delayed.