The following methods were used to assess the basic infrastructure of 119 parks under the jurisdiction of Portland Parks and Recreation in Oregon. The evaluation of infrastructure is based on a review of several features found in most developed parks, including play equipment, paths, pathway lighting, restrooms, irrigation, roads, and parking lots. Evaluation criteria were developed for each feature and park conditions were rated against those criteria. This data was recorded on assessment forms (you may download and print out sample forms using the links in the right column) and entered into a computer to generate a series of tables. The tables were then tabulated, analyzed, and summarized.
Paths are an essential part of developed parks because, when properly designed, they provide routes that all visitors can use for informal strolling or to reach specific attractions. Moreover, they are the principal means by which visitors who are physically disabled can reach the park's features and enjoy the benefits that other non-disabled visitors can.
Paths are evaluated against five criteria:
This type of assessment focuses on light standards adjacent to paved paths and does not include other light fixtures, such as those on tennis courts or buildings.
Two criteria are used:
Four criteria were used:
Criteria for evalution:
A - Problem does not occur B - less than one-third of fixtures C - one-third to two-thirds of fixtures D - Widespread problem
Irrigation systems are a key part and a common feature of a park's infrastructure. Older systems typically consist of galvanized pipe and many are operated manually. They are labor-intensive, expensive to maintain because of frequent repairs, and are less efficient at distributing water to specific areas. Current standards for irrigation systems require plastic pipe, full automation, and a range of watering levels for lawn, sports fields, and planting beds.
Three criteria are used to evaluate irrigation systems:
The field assessment uses a particular form (sample available for download - click on the links in the right colum) and the process includes four steps, described below.
Step 1: Determine whether the problem occurs in the park or park feature.
Step 2: Determine the extent to which the problem occurs.
The extent or range of a problem is defined by one of five letter ratings, described below. For some features, a modified version of the rating system is used.
A - Problem does not occur in the park or the feature. B - Problem occurs in less than one-third of the park or the particular feature. C - Problem occurs in one-third to two-thirds of the park or the particular feature. D - Widespread problem that is present throughout the park or the particular feature. NF - Feature is not found in park
Step 3: Summarize the letter ratings in the "Totals" column of the Assessment Form.
Step 4: Add any comments.
After the forms are submitted, random checks of the results are conducted by other Parks and Recreation staff. Each person conducts several "back-up" assessment surveys of parks already assessed by an appointed team. The random checks provided a quality control step that ensures accuracy.
Information from the assessment forms is entered into a computer to produce tables with all the parks in the system. The alphabetical ratings are translated into two numerical indices which allow the parks to be ranked. The use of two indices allows cross-checking and ensures that the resulting lists are consistent in their ranking. The scores are also used to determine which parks could be grouped together to make up four rank levels. In addition, the makeup of the groups is checked often by reviewing survey results and original assessment forms.