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Hope Playground, Redmond, Ore.
LASN January 2017 Playground

By Michael Miyamoto, LASN


Hope Playground opened in October 2015 in Redmond, Ore., and is the largest inclusive, universally accessible playground in the state, according to Doug Buell, president and co-owner of Buell Recreation, Portland, Ore. The company specializes in providing a variety of commercial quality park and playground products to public and private organizations throughout the western United States. A sign above the main walkway into the playground proclaims the site as "Hope Playground: A Place For Everyone." The play space focuses on three age groups: 0-2, 2-5 and 5-12. It has over 70 play events and can support 450 children at any time. The city also plans to include play and fitness elements to attract young adults, adults and seniors.

The Hope Playground in Redmond, Ore., is the result of a true grassroots effort, and it all started when a small group of mothers approached the city council with a simple request.

In 2012, the moms spoke to city leaders and expressed a need for an accessible playground facility at the Sam Johnson Park, the most centrally located recreational site in Redmond. They did not expect to be so well received. But city officials took their request seriously, so much so that it sparked a full-scale collaboration by multiple entities.

Eventually, it led to the creation of Hope Playground. Of course, the playground had to be designed and planned. Funds needed to be raised, and the Redmond Kiwanis Club played a prominent role in this regard. Hope Playground was chosen as one of 10 projects worldwide by Kiwanis International Club to celebrate the Kiwanis' centennial in 2015.


The custom-designed play structure is suitable for children in the 2-5 and 5-12 age groups. It features multiple access points and elevations, ranging from an extra-wide ramp with 12" platforms that meander upward to 112" platforms that connect to triple spiral slides. BCI Burke Company, based in Fond du Lac, Wis., was the playground equipment manufacturer.

"The community rallied behind the idea that a premier inclusive play space that offered the opportunity for children and community members of all abilities and ages to gather and play together could make an impact in the entire region," said Doug Buell, president and co-owner of Buell Recreation, headquartered in Portland, Ore., the company that was hired to oversee the entire project.

The playground equipment manufacturer was BCI Burke Company, Fond du Lac, Wis., a firm that began over 90 years ago and is experienced in producing playgrounds that are compliant with ASTMF1487 and CPSC standards. It strives to blend traditional active fitness elements into all of its designs, and it modular play systems can be configured and customized in myriad ways, the company states on its website. Its goal is also to promote the development of children's cognitive, social, emotional and imaginative skills.


One of the all-inclusive features of the Hope Playground is the braille-learning education panel. It was important to provide age appropriate play events that were not only functional but also allowed for good parental supervision and accessibility. Colorful accent railings and roof designs integrate well with the evergreen tree toppers displayed atop several vertical support posts.

Dave Olsen (in memoriam) and Katrina Langenderfer, both of Harper Houf Peterson Righellis Inc., of Bend, Ore., drafted the conceptual design of the play space, and the engineering plans for the surfaces, the wall feature, metal shade structure and other on-site elements.

Sam Johnson Park was deeded to the city in the 1980s for a community park. The Redmond Kiwanis Club adopted the park in 1987 and helped raise funds to install playground structures in 1990. Not only is it in the middle of the town, the park is extremely popular with the community. The park includes large lawns, mature shade trees, a pavilion, bike path and parking lot.

The playground structures, however, were some of the oldest in the city's park system, were not compliant with current safety guidelines and did not provide adequate accessibility to people with mobility challenges. In addition, there were no other playground facilities in the town that could be considered accessible at the time. Now revamped, the new playground features a climbing wall that represents the Dry Canyon walls and Smith Rock, nearby geographic landmarks. The design theme incorporates flowing rivers and high desert landscapes into the surface, along with a perimeter rock wall that further accented the project.


Several freestanding events include the playground equipment maker's "Volito" multiuser swing (pictured) and "Cruiser," both with enough room for easy wheelchair-access. They allow up to 12 children to play and interact side-by-side no matter what their abilities.

Hope Playground garnered a "Building a Better Central Oregon" award. Precision Recreation Contractors, based in Portland, Ore., installed the equipment. Also, because the equipment has a patented "direct bolt connection system," community volunteers were actively engaged with the assembly of the play structures. Groundbreaking for the playground was in June 2015, and Hope Playground opened the following October.

Project Team List:
Survey: Povey Surveying
Construction manager: Able General Contracting
Contractor: Latham Excavation
Concrete contractor: Kim Veltmann
Concrete block: Cement Products
Wall finish: Gordon Gribling
Ornamental ironwork: Redmond Welding
Other stakeholders: Redmond Community Development and Public Works departments

As seen in LASN magazine, January 2017.

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October 15, 2019, 4:47 am PDT

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