Errol Heights Park Project finishes, bringing inclusivity and improved access to nature in SE Portland

Upgrades to the 16-acre site in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood include a new playground and wildlife viewing spots.

A child in a pink jacket and beanie navigates a rope and beam feature at the new playground in Errol Heights Park. An adult waits nearby to catch the child if they fall.

The new Errol Heights Park was funded by $12 million in system development charges.

Photo via Portland Parks & Rec

Portland Parks & Recreation has substantially completed its Errol Heights Park Project — the culmination of nearly 20 years of imagining what the 16-acre site in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood could mean for residents of Southeast Portland.

Construction on recreation facilities and improvements to the natural area, which includes riparian habitat and wetlands, began in April 2022, although the area’s master plan was first drafted in 2005. Accessibility was always an emphasis — the ADA-accessible, elevated boardwalk leads down to paved trails where visitors can interact with wildlife viewpoints and the science education platform. Similarly, the inclusive play area in the park’s upper plateau has features for all skills and abilities.

“I was at the new Errol Heights Park recently,” said former Portland Parks Board member Ian Jaquiss, who uses a wheelchair. “I was able to easily navigate all parts of it. And, I have to say, that is the most accessible, beautiful park I have seen.”

A skater waits with their skateboard resting on and out from the lip of a concrete bowl at the skate area in Error Heights Park.

Additional amenities include a skate area, splash pad, 11 picnic tables, and a Portland Loo.

Photo by Portland Parks & Rec

More than 450 trees and native plants were also put in the ground; their beauty is reflected in the steel/bronze sculpture created by artists Terresa White and Mike Suri.

In 1999, Barbara Schnabel, widow of George Schnabel, sold her home and the 2.32 acres that the current Errol Heights Park site surrounds. Her husband had spent more than 30 years building their house and workshop with salvaged timber from Portland’s old warehouses, a 50-ft garden hose as a level, and only the knowledge from a high school drafting class. In the ponds he dug, he grew watercress, which he sold to cover his property taxes (just $18 a year). Today, their dream of a sanctuary for people and animals is realized.

A map of Portland's Errol Heights Park shows a wetland area with an upper area to the north, where most of the amenities like a playground and splash pad are located. On the western edge there is a basketball court.

The Springwater Corridor is only a half-mile southwest of Errol Heights Park.

Map via Portland Parks & Rec

Some minor finishing touches to the basketball court and playground tower are ongoing, and there are some weather related closures in place, but a grand opening event will be held during the warmer weather of spring.