Parks, Recreation & Facilities

Posted on: May 18, 2016

Portland Honored with 'Playful City' Designation

Portland is being honored with a 2016 Playful City USA designation for the first time! Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Playful City USA is a national recognition program that honors cities and towns across the country for making their cities more playable. With 30 playgrounds, 24 tennis courts, 1 skate park, 4 splash pads, 3 public pools, 4 skating ponds, 2 winter terrain parks, more than 100 acres of athletic fields, dozens of miles of trails, and more than 60 designated parks and open spaces, Portland is a prime place to play. Compared to other cities, Portlanders enjoy very close proximity to parks and playspaces. According to the 2015 Portland Open Space Vision and Implementation Plan, (conducted by the City of Portland and Trust for Public Land), 87% of Portland residents live within ½ of a mile of a park. Given Portland’s strong play infrastructure, combined with diverse program options provided by the City and community groups, Portland has been recognized as a great place for residents and visitors of all ages to engage in play, year round.

“I’m thrilled that Portland has been recognized as a Playful City,” said Ethan Hipple, Parks Director for the City of Portland. “Every day when I go out and visit parks from Back Cove Trail to lesser-known gems like Pleasant St Park, I see people of all ages enjoying our parks. We love our parks and it’s great that the hard work of all the staff and community groups to create innovative and fun-filled places has paid off.”

Communities across the country are creating innovative ways to bring back play and attract residents through family friendly activities. Interactive sidewalk art, designated play spaces on trails and the transformation of schoolyards into active play areas are just a few examples of how cities are becoming more playful.

“We are thrilled to recognize these communities that have invested their time and efforts to put kids first,” said KaBOOM! CEO James Siegal. “Balanced and active play is crucial to the well-being of kids and the communities that they thrive in. By integrating play into cities, the leaders of Playful Cities USA are working to attract and retain the thousands of families that want homes in close proximity to safe places to play.”

To learn more about these cities, see the full list of the 257 communities named 2016 Playful City USA honorees, or to gather more information on the Playful City USA program, visit We also encourage you to take part in the conversation on #playability with these thought leaders on Twitter and Facebook.

About KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,300 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers and served 8.1 million kids. KaBOOM! creates great places to play, inspires communities to promote and support play, and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives. To learn why #playmatters: visit or join the conversation at or

Playful City USA
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