By Mike Slaton
This morning, I joined Mayor Abramson and Parks Director Mike Heitz in a sub-freezing press conference at Boone Square Park to thank 10 new and continuing members of the Adopt-A-Park program.
I really enjoy working with our Adopt-A-Park program partners. Without exception, they are motivated groups that care deeply about our community. Meeting these neighborhood leaders, learning about their organizations, and working with them to improve our community is a definite high point of my job here.
Sometimes, when we announce an adoption, we’re formalizing an existing relationship with a group that has taken on a share of the load in caring for our parks. That’s the case with the Boone Square Adoption, which started through a miscommunication…
About a year ago, we had a report of a new, unauthorized mural on the historic bathroom pavilion at the park. The smiley faces and flowers were a lot better than most of the graffiti we see, but it was still a cause for concern, especially for our history-minded friends at the Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy. Whoever had painted this mural hadn’t asked for permission, and the mural didn’t fit with the standards for historic Olmsted-designed parks like Boone Square.
What we didn’t know was that folks from the Portland Promise Center had decided to respond to graffiti on the bathrooms by covering it up with positive images and messages, and that they had been asked to “adopt” the park by a neighborhood group that had once upon a time been the adoption partner for that park. So, this was a case of initiative by a group with the right intentions following what they thought were the rules.
Once we got to the bottom of the misunderstanding and clarified with PPC how the adoption process really works, the good folks at the Olmsted Conservancy were happy to overlook the anachronistic mural and work hand in hand with PPC on volunteer projects this year.
Which brings us to today, when we unveiled the new sign in Boone Square Park that says “Adopted By Portland Promise Center with additional support from the Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy.” Now the Conservancy and Portland Promise Center are allies, working to preserve and enhance Boone Square Park with a respect for the past, the present, and the future.
Oh, and the mural is still there. Stop by and check it out.