$18.5 mil. contract approved to replace unsafe Portland park lamp posts

Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 7:28 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – Millions of dollars will go towards replacing dangerous lamp posts in 12 Portland parks. The $18.5 million contract was approved at a council meeting Wednesday.

At Irving Park in Northeast, Portland Parks and Recreation already removed all 73 unsafe lamp posts. While some neighbors understand why they took them out, others are upset because they were historical and the park is especially dark at night now, making some feel unsafe.

“I’m really glad they’re doing protective things to help the community and keep us safe and remove things that are dangerous,” says Sarah Brown, a nearby resident.

“Mt. Tabor Park is on the National Historic Register - its historic lamp posts are major contributing factors to that designation and of all city parks Mt. Tabor is slated to have the most historical lamp posts removed, 81,” says John Larson. “We at Mt. Tabor are therefore particularly concerned about if they’ll go with the park.”

Portland Parks and Recreation says it recently did a review of a thousand light poles in their parks and found 243 aren’t properly anchored into the ground posing a safety hazard to the public.

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While Mt. Tabor is slated to have the most lights removed, Irving Park in northeast Portland had the second-highest number of problematic posts with 73, which were already taken out.

This decision comes after a lamp post fell on a boy and his caretaker last June because they hung a hammock from one of the poles to a tree. At the time, neighbors put up fliers around Irving Park warning the light poles weren’t stable.

“I get it,” says Peter Thomas. “If there’s a potential for somebody getting hurt, especially a kid, they had to do what they had to do. It makes sense. I just hope they affect change and get lights up here sooner than later.”

Now that the light poles are gone, people who visit Irving Park often say it gets quite dark at night which makes some feel unsafe, while others just say it was just a big change.

“We do, me and my puppy over there, come here every night for our night walk and since the lights went out, went away, this place is pitch, pitch dark, I mean it is a blackout,” Thomas says.

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But the new, $18.5 million contract, will help replace all 243 posts deemed unsafe.

“I’m really excited to hear that the funding was approved and that they’re going to have more lights in the park,” Brown says. “I think it’s needed for safety.”

Until the light poles are replaced, Portland Parks and Recreation says rangers will prioritize visits to parks without lighting and look into temporary lighting.

Now that the city council approved the contract, Commissioner Dan Ryan says replacements will come sooner than later.