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  1. 1. Phuong NguyenHealthy People/Healthy PlacePortland State University ESSEX PARK COMMUNITY HEALTH AND ISSUES
  2. 2. Living in a modern society, we deliberate most our time to work and family. As apart of the community, knowing your place around the neighborhood is just as importantas knowing where to find a doctor when you’re sick. It wouldn’t hurt to spend sometime inthe community’s park, as it’s a vaccination to cure the potential of illness. Meeting withyour neighbor and walking your little dog around the park would enhance your health inmany ways.That is the reason I want to introduce Essex Park. Essex Park is a place that helps thecommunity stay in shape. The park provides aplayground for children, sport field as well aspeace, quite green space to hang out. Essex Park has been in the community for a longperiod. It witnesses the changes of the neighborhood over time. However, park becomesold, and place of illegal activities at nighttime. Change and renovation of the park is
  3. 3. necessary to prevent it from being used by unauthorized users and physical or emotionalinjuries to park users. The better of the park is an importance contribution to communityhealth such physical and emotional. The use of the park is often time determined by the weather. In Portland, during thecold and raining weather of Autumn and Winter, less people are going to the park.However, during spring, when Spring’s sport season come at local high school in area, thepark is being used effectively by high schoolers and community members. Childrenplayground could only be used when the weather is drier and warmer.The park is an important venue of the community, bringing neighbors together andallowing for communication. According to the website, Essex Park
  4. 4. surrounded working population generation, the average time that people are leaving towork is around 5am and get home by 4pm. The rest of the time their day will most likely bedistributed to cooking, family time because of the neighborhood dominated by culture ofRussian, Vietnamese, Chinese and Hispanic culture as it’s still growing in it diversitiespopulation. Hence, use of the park is important to the community in term of to getting toknow the neighborhood.Beside, the community surrounds by park are pretty young. Theage range that is living in the neighborhood isin the range of 0 to 50. Therefore, the park isan important place for children to get in touch with nature rather than advancing intechnology fun like TV and games and so on. But time doesn’t miss any one; Essex Park is needed of remodeling and renovation.Since it’s being use by many people, it is necessary to make sure Essex Park is a safe place.There are two things to determine the safetiness of the park.They are as followed: what arethe crime rates and construction. From Crime Mapper, crime rate has conducted as itsshown in different color, the more crimes, and the darker shade of red. The dot in middle ofthe map is the corner of SE 76th AVE and SE Center St. As it shows, crime rate around EssexPark is pretty high. However, most of the crimes are non-violent. Crime that contributed to
  5. 5. most of the crime rate is larceny (59%), theft from auto (17%), burglary (9%). Most of thecrimes related to drug law, vandalism and forgery/counterfeit. In addition, the park is also being used for unauthorized purposes such as graffiti onbenches and other park facility is being litter. Even though, graffiti doesn’t directly have aneffect on community health. However, it presents putting an effect on the park it couldvulnerable to other illegal activities. Because the presence of graffiti shows that there aren’tpeople taking care of the park, especially during the cold weather, daylight is lesser and notmany people are out playing under wet and cold day.
  6. 6. The construction of the park is also required attention. In the tennis court, the flooris slippery by the moles and ferns built up by the wet and cold rainy weather. Also, there isa big crack, which can cause injury for people when using the court. Some people that I hadchances to talk with said the crack on the floor caused them trip a few times, however, ithas never caused serious injuries. The most serious injury that I’ve heard of was a personspraining her ankle while trying to catch the ball.
  7. 7. On the other hand, basketball court seems to have more potential for risk and a lotmore injuries compare to tennis court. Even though the condition of the basketball courtlooks better than the tennis court, many youth who use the court for some friendlybasketball game has broke their wrist, legs, and head on the floor. The park just requiresattention for bettermaintenance so it can be safe for everyone. It wouldn’t be nice if peoplegetting injure when using the park.
  8. 8. Besides the court, the drinking fountain too, need a little maintance. The fountain might beuntouch during the winter, but it is a useful source of water during summer, when baseballor soccer games are going on. The condition of the fountain water might not look good toparents, which they might carry their own water source to their children, but what is thepoint of having the fountain there when it cannot be used. A little cleaning may make itaccesible for park users during hot season if for some reason they forget their fluid supply.
  9. 9. Essex Park is surrounded by three big roads, which serve quite lot traffic. Few years ago,when there weren’t bumps, people could easily exceed the speed limit, this is quitedangerous for Park users that park their car on the side of the street and try to cross theroad. But now, thanks to the community concern and the city, there are bumps on thestreet all around the park and on each block where stop sign doesn’t exit. It is much safer towalk a child cross the street and not running because of furious cars speeding. The community is slowly upgrading itself to become safe and better for livingresidents. Many “community watch” signs have been put up to surround the park and in theneighborhood. However, seem like it doesn’t get really effective when it gets dark, becausethe present of marijuana smell that is so noticeable when drive by the park. Therefore,Essex Park require attention to re –construct, and make it less accessible to user at night aswell as better use for the community. Ideally, this can be fixed by fixing the brokenequipment and construction and replacing and cleaning filthy thing like water fountain andrestroom. As the park becomes safer and cleaner, it will attract more users. People willspend time in the park with the nature. It will enhance not just the health of individual park
  10. 10. users, but people will get to meet with others, and have a relaxing moment without havingto think of their daily stress. In conclusion, the park is so importance to community. AsJane Jacobs, an urbantheorist, talks about the ideas of "eyes on the street" in her writings: build up a relationshipwith your neighbor could make your community safer place to live. Such, Essex Park is justa perfect environment, which create opportunity for neighbor to know others. To make thepark becomes more attractive to the rest of the community renovation and re-constructionis required. As suggest by many park user, the venue for kid need more equipment, thetennis court and basketball court need new floors. Restroom and water fountain requiresanitation. And over all, the park needs a little change in it construction to make it lessaccessible to unauthorized user when it in cold season. As the park is getting better, thecommunity health will increase in a brighter side, crime rate would decrease. Essex Parkcommunity will become a perfect place to live. Reference:URL: Foster-Powell neighborhood in Portland, Oregon (OR), 97206 detailed profileURL: Conley, Dalton and Ryvicker, Miriam “Race, Class, and Eyes Upon the Street: PublicSpace,Social Control, and the Economies of ThreeUrban Communities” Sociological Forum,Vol. 16, No. 4, December 2001URL: