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We're Explore Washington Park. We help people make decisions about how they get to and around Washington Park, and ensure that they have what they need for a fun, enjoyable visit.
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We strive to improve the experience at Washington Park in the following ways:
- By ensuring all visitors have a safe, smooth, positive experience
- By giving visitors access to better information and ways to get around the park
- By providing responsive customer support and guidance to our visitors
Every dollar generated from parking fees goes right back into Washington Park. From traffic management to the Explore Washington Park Free Shuttle, Explore Washington Park, in coordination with Portland Parks & Recreation, puts parking dollars to work to improve the overall Park experience.
Explore Washington Park was formed as a Transportation Management Association and operates as a 501(c)3 non-profit with a license agreement with the City of Portland for transportation management in the park.
Our accomplishments include the creation and management of the free Washington Park shuttle system, which provided over 90,000 rides in 2015, and our customer service program that provided one-on-one assistance to over 35,000 people in 2015.
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Heather is an expert in transportation demand management strategies and has been working with Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) in the Portland region since 2008. Prior to serving as Explore Washington Park’s first Executive Director, she served as the Program Manager for GoLloyd, a non-profit that promotes alternative transportation in downtown Portland, and the Executive Director of the Westside Transportation Alliance, a TMA that focuses on sustainable transportation in suburban Portland. She received her Master’s in City and Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia.
JP came to Explore Washington Park from the Portland Bureau of Transportation where he was a part of the Transportation Planning team and worked on a several neighborhood-level bike and pedestrian plans, freight issues, and GIS analysis. He received his Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University. Prior to that, he spent two years living in Eastern Oregon through the RARE Americorp program and also worked as the Main Street Program Manager for the City of Sandy. A native of Massachusetts, JP has lived in Oregon for 12 years and has grown accustomed to biking, hiking, and camping in this drizzly greenscape.
Working for the City of Portland Parks Bureau, Victor Sanders leads the management of the parking program in Washington Park. He is the liaison between Explore Washington Park and Parks. Prior to Parks, Sanders worked as a Transportation Program Specialist at Portland State University, coordinating strategic improvements in the parking system. His past experience also includes working for municipal planning departments and consulting firms on historic resource conservation and long-range planning. He received his Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University.
Jessica Van Raden
Jessica joined the Explore Washington Park team in May of 2016. She brings nearly 20 years of corporate level customer service, financial analysis and management of multi-family residential and commercial mixed-use real estate projects throughout the State of Oregon and Washington. Jessica worked for several years as the Compliance Manager for Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, one of Portland’s largest providers of mental health services for homeless adults in the Portland area. She is designated as an Assisted Housing Manager through the Federal Government’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Jessica is a native of Portland and lives in the Mt. Scott area with her family and enjoys gardening, painting and mountain biking.
Explore Washington Park is governed by our 11-member board. The board is made up of Directors from all the attractions within the park, as well as Portland Parks & Recreation, representatives from TriMet, surrounding neighborhoods, and at-large members. We deliver our services to park guests on behalf of these attractions.
Board meetings take place the second Thursday of every month from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in the Sunset Room of the Oregon Zoo and are open to the public. Please contact Heather@ExploreWashingtonPark.org for information about attending future board meetings.
Cynthia Johnson Haruyama
At-Large Board Member
History of the Park
Washington Park is one of the oldest parks in Portland. In 1871, the City purchased the original forty acres of land from Amos King, an early developer who bought over 500 acres of land west of the city, for $32,634. The City designated this land "City Park,” despite its relative distance from the central city of the time. The park had few roads and was a wilderness area thick with brush, trees, and roaming cougars that discouraged access and daily use of the park. With ample green space surrounding Portland, limited improvements to City Park were not made until the early 1880s. Read More »