Update, 4:03pm: Some great photographs by Will Radik here.
The Mercury has moved its news room to a "park" in a parking space outside city hall this morning to celebrate National Parking Day. The idea is to reclaim parking spaces by turning them into little parks. You can follow similar events all over the country today by going to #parkingday on Twitter. You may also like to read this article on the Sightline Institute's website about the high social cost of free parking, if you're interested in some of the issues brought up by the stunt. Come down and see us, grab a copy of the paper, give us a story, chitchat, whatever.
City Commissioner Nick Fish and Metro Regional Council President David Bragdon also took the opportunity this morning to launch the region's new "Intertwine," on another makeshift park in the street outside the Monaco Hotel on SW Washington. The Intertwine is an effort to connect all of Oregon's parks, trails and waterways so that, in theory, you could walk from the coast to Mount Hood on a single network of trails, all signposted the same.
"Right now you're in Beaverton and there isn't a sign on the trails showing you how to get to Tigard," said Bragdon, talking to the Mercury this morning about the launch. "The idea is to start showing the consumer that this is one network." The event was kicked off by naturalist James Davis, in the hat, who imitated a "crow gathering call" for those listening.
The mayors of Gresham and Lake Oswego were there, as well as Metro Regional Councillor Carlotta Collette, who plans a trip to Washington DC next week to lobby for up to $50million in Federal grants to improve the network. Collette says there are similar programs in Minnesota, Houston, and around Chicago, but that in her conversations with the Federal grant people, she's been able to say "we can match whatever you give us," thanks to Metro "greenspace acquisition measures" approved by the voters in 2006 and 1995. The 2006 measure was for $27.4million, some of which went towards buying the fen that I reported on earlier this year.
"They were asking, well, if we gave you two million, could you match it," says Collette. "And some of the other jurisdictions were unsure. But I said whatever you can give us, we can match it. Go ahead."
An owl was also present for the launch, thanks to the Audobon Society.
I feel a little bit like I'm on hallucinogenics.