Southeast Portland

Parke Diem: 'I’m hopeful this can become a new Portland tradition'

Parke Diem: 'I’m hopeful this can become a new Portland tradition'
Photo courtesy vivek jena on Flickr (Creative Commons).

This is a press release courtesy of the Portland Parks Foundation

Portlanders love their city’s parks. And they know how to seize the day, rain or shine. “Parke Diem,” Portland Parks Foundation’s citywide work party, is challenging the community to get out, get their hands dirty, and make a difference in the parks and outdoor spaces we love to enjoy. The first-ever citywide volunteer event for parks will bring together 30 organizations and more than 1,000 volunteers to rake, dig, prune, and get active at 55 work sites across the city. “Parke Diem” will kick off Friday, October 11th and wrap up October 12th. 

But Parke Diem isn’t just about volunteering. “I’ve seen no city in America where folks volunteer in their parks more than we do here in Portland—a half million hours each year,” marvels PPF executive director Nick Hardigg.  “But the real story isn’t that we simply volunteer—it’s that Portlanders see the parks they love in a state of serious need, and they want to pitch in to make a difference. That Portland sense of community and generosity is worth celebrating—but we mustn’t forget the serious needs we’re all trying to address.”

But is it really all that “serious”? To more than a thousand people anticipated to volunteer for Parke Diem, the answer is yes. “We’ve got historic parks with boarded-up bathrooms, half of our playgrounds need replacement in ten years, and a lot of families—one in five—can’t even walk to a playground,” adds Hardigg. “Portland is a great city, thanks in large part to its parks. But volunteering alone won’t solve all these challenges—it also takes public awareness.”

The Portland Parks Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization formed in 2001, to bring resources for the long-term stewardship of Portland's parks and park programs, and to ensure that they remain publicly supported. The Foundation works hand in hand with Portland Parks & Recreation, and is committed to building collaborations that strengthen Portland’s parks and neighborhoods. They’ve raised over $10 million for parks since their founding in 2000. Parke Diem is their latest initiative to keep our park system among the best in America.

“I encourage people to take part in Parke Diem because it is a wonderful, grass-roots volunteer endeavor to help maintain our City’s outstanding parks,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “I’m hopeful this can become a new Portland tradition. I thank the nonprofit Portland Parks Foundation for bringing so many volunteers together in one coordinated two day effort. Thanks also to the many communities and groups that combined provide an amazing 475,000 hours of volunteer efforts to Portland Parks each year.”

Mary Kinnick serves on the board of Friends of Mount Tabor Park, one of over 30 participating groups in Parke Diem. “Our group is committed to volunteerism—removing invasive plants, providing foot patrols, helping to maintain trails, and running a visitor center,” she says. “But so much more is needed. I hope people will consider volunteering or joining Friends of Mount Tabor Park, or supporting their own local park. Our parks need all of us.”

The Coca-Cola Company and Bank of America are proud to serve as title sponsors of “Parke Diem.” Supporting organizations include Nike, Moda Health, and Harold & Arlene Schnitzer Care Foundation. A full list of project supporters and partners is available at http://www.parklandia.org/parke-diem.

“Portland’s parks and outdoor spaces are one of the city’s greatest treasures. Rain or shine, Portlanders take to running trails, soccer fields, and play grounds to stay active year-round. The Coca-Cola Company is committed to making our communities healthier by improving access to parks and public recreation spaces,” said Anna Arodzero, Public Affairs & Communications Manager, Coca-Cola North America Group. “We’re proud to help bring together businesses, non-profits, government agencies, and the community to support “Parke Diem” to refresh our parks and make a lasting positive impact.”

“The abundance of beautiful parks in Portland is one of the things that makes our city unique. We are excited to not only support Parke Diem as a sponsor, but to also bring our employees to volunteer and join the efforts to clean up our city parks. We know the importance of keeping our communities vibrant and strong, and we’re proud to give back to the city where we live and work,” said Nicole Frisch, Assistant Vice President Corporate Society Responsibility at Bank of America, Oregon and SW Washington.

All Parke Diem volunteers will be thanked with shirts and other items, as supplies last. An interactive map including more than 55 Parke Diem sites—parks, natural areas, playgrounds and community gardens—is online at the Portland Parks Foundation’s website: www.parklandia.org/parke-diem.