The New Importance of ‘Close to Home’

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Ellie Emery never expected to spend her summer at Cook Park. Yet, a few weeks from the end of summer, Cook Park is where she reports having spent most of her time. She’s nannying for a family with two children and a parent who is now working from home full time. Ellie’s nanny family lives just a few blocks from Cook Park. 

“We spend a lot of time at the park! There is space to run around and we wave at people walking by. We like to stop and smell the flowers, especially on nice days when it is sunny.”  

Without a park within walking distance from her home, Ellie finds herself at Cook Park for other outings as well. She meets friends for socially distant picnics, but is most excited about her new paddleboard.

“We usually travel to San Francisco every summer, but with COVID-19 we decided to buy a paddleboard instead,” says Ellie. “We’ve launched at Cook Park and at Alder Creek further up the river. It is super fun; I enjoy it a lot.” 

Ellie is like many in Tigard, without a park in her neighborhood.  Approximately one-third (34%) of Tigard’s population has to walk more than 10 minutes to reach a developed park.

Ellie Emery is pictured on the Tualatin River with her mom. Paddleboarding is a new way that her family is enjoying Cook Park since COVID-19 cancelled annual summer travel plans.

A key piece of the city’s Parks & Recreation Master Plan work is looking at what is within walking distance to homes in Tigard. Can you walk to a park or trail now? If so, is the route safe? Are there activities you want to do there?

The draft 10-Minute Walk Analysis Report details key findings like impacts that park development could have on the city. The future development of Bagan Park and the Steve Street Property, for example, could provide new service to a population of about 1,600 people. You can view the map and read the draft analysis online:

“I don’t think Ellie’s family is unique, in the sense that I think many folks are looking for ways to enjoy recreation closer to home,” reports Acting Parks & Recreation Manager Martin McKnight. “We know how busy it can be down in Cook Park, especially at the boat ramp.”

As such, the city is collecting ideas about new ways to enjoy Tigard Parks with an aim of reaching 101 ideas that don’t include playgrounds. 

Ellie’s tips for two-year-old’s include: 1) chasing bubbles in the butterfly garden, or 2) bringing shovels to “dig” down by the river. 

“The national 10-Minute Walk campaign is working on many fronts to ensure that residents of all US cities are within a 10-minute walk (½ mile) of a quality park,” says Ryan Mottau Senior Planner at MIG, a planning firm hired to help the city put together an updated Parks & Recreation Master Plan. “This is an emerging national standard for park systems.” 

Ellie’s wish list for future parks improvements includes better access to the river in Cook park, and cleaner water in the river. 

Participate Now

When you go outside, where will you go?  

The City of Tigard wants to know what you think about parks facilities and is collecting your ideas through a fun and interactive survey ( This survey uses an interactive map to let you point out where you go in the parks system, what needs to improve, and where we go from here.

Have ideas for new ways to experience Tigard Parks?

Add to the list of 101 things at

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