Portland’s newest inclusive playground will be open to the public this weekend in Southwest Portland’s Multnomah Village neighborhood, marking another step forward towards the parks bureau’s goal of creating a large inclusive public play area in every section of the city.
Children of all abilities can play at the new 10,000-square-foot playground in Gabriel Park, located at SW 37th Avenue and Vermont, starting Saturday, May 14. The play area features an in-ground trampoline that’s accessible by wheelchair, a climbing dome, multiple slides, and a rubberized surface connecting all of the play elements. The city also planted 50 new trees to accompany the project.
“The inclusive features of the new Gabriel Park playground mean fewer barriers for Portlanders to access the recreation and play opportunities that we all need now more than ever,” said Portland Parks and Recreation director Adena Long in a press release. “This playground is a place of exploration and connection, and one all Portlanders will be proud of.”
The Gabriel Park playground was designed with input from disabled community members, medical professionals who work with disabled children, and people who live near the park. Construction on the play area, which started in March 2021, was funded by the Parks Replacement Bond voters approved in 2014, as well as the bureau’s Capital Fund ADA program.
Gabriel Park is the city’s fourth inclusive playground, a definition that requires the play area to serve all people and provide challenges to all children at their ability level so that kids can play side by side doing the same activity. While every new city playground is planned with inclusive features, only the Arbor Lodge Park in North Portland, Couch Park in Northwest Portland, and Gateway Discovery Park in Northeast Portland have 10,000 square-foot inclusive play areas. The parks bureau intends to build another large inclusive playground in Southeast Portland in order to meet its goal of having a “destination-level” inclusive playground in every quadrant of the city, according to parks bureau spokesperson Mark Ross. The location of the Southeast Portland play area has not been announced.
“Inclusive playgrounds are a crucial part of building a sustainable Portland Parks & Recreation,” said Portland Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio in a press release. “No child should be deprived a rich play experience, addressing physical, sensory, and social needs, just because a playground was inaccessible.”