In 2011, seventeen non-profit and community organizations developed the Nadaka Nature Park and Garden Project Declaration of Cooperation (DOC) to establish and support a shared vision and goals for the 12-acre Nadaka Open Space. As detailed in the DOC:
The Vision is to create “a place that nurtures nature, food, and families” where people, especially children, can access healthy and nutritional food, can exercise to reduce obesity, can improve overall health outcomes, and can learn about food origins and the benefits of low-energy, low-input, local agriculture. This desired future condition improves access to nature, enriches the livability and affordability of the Rockwood Town Center, increases property values, and grows cultural understanding through shared opportunities for active and passive nature-based creation. This desired future condition protects and enhances healthy habitat for birds, insects, mammals, and other biodiversity while making Nadaka Nature Park a living lab for watershed education and environmental learning in the Columbia Slough Watershed.
The process for achieving this desired future condition will create opportunities for green jobs associated with the installation and maintenance of new improvements, for work force development in landscaping, agriculture, and ecological restoration and enhancement, and for expanded community participation and cultivation of new conservation leadership. The process will also be a model for community initiated and supported park development and natural area stewardship in Gresham and in East County, a genuinely collaborative process that leverages community resources and leadership in making desired improvements and conducting needed operations and maintenance.
To realize this shared vision the 17 groups collaborated in designing and building the neighborhood park between 2011-2014. In April 2015 the new 12-acre Nadaka Nature Park and Garden opened with a nature-based play area, community garden, restroom, picnic shelter, walking loop, and more. Over 240 people attended the grand opening and ribbon cutting on April 4, 2015. Attendees included elected officials, key local government and non-profit staff, and of course many residents of the community.
The original DOC also called for development and implementation of a 5-year operation and maintenance plan that has evolved to include educational and stewardship programming at Nadaka through 2020. A draft Nadaka 2020 Operation, Maintenance and Programming Plan was completed in January 2014 under leadership of the Columbia Slough Watershed Council. In 2015, eight collaborating organizations launched The Nadaka 2020 Project marking the next phase of nature-based community building at Nadaka.
Nadaka 2020 Project Goals
The overall goal of Nadaka 2020 is to implement the 5-year operation, maintenance and programming plan for Nadaka Nature Park and Garden in a way that advances the following goals:
- Increase community awareness and use of Nadaka Nature Park and Garden.
- Engage the full diversity of people living or working in West Gresham in the stewardship of their immediate environment to improve social and ecological conditions at Nadaka and in surrounding neighborhoods.
- Create educational opportunities related to food, water and wildlife that increase environmental literacy, especially for low income people and people of color, and contribute to a strong sense of place and a diverse culture of stewardship around the park and throughout West Gresham.
- Create local employment opportunities, especially for low income people and people of color, that foster new conservation leaders and investment in the parks system.
- Create the capacity for the sustainable management of the park (social, ecological and financial) by developing organization commitments and a strong and diverse grassroots constituency.
- Establish Nadaka as a model of a full-service park in East Multnomah County.
- Build knowledge and capacity within collaborating organizations to effectively serve and partner with diverse immigrant and low-income communities in West Gresham.