Not Leaning for the New Parklet

Sometimes, a great place to enjoy a glass of wine or mimosa is outside. One of the great places was on the parklet in front of Wine:30 in Milwaukie, Oregon. As you might have seen, Wine:30 has a new parklet. My experience on the new parklet has me on a slope literally.

The new parklet is nothing like its predecessor. Gone is the raised wooden deck with steel cable rails and a bar counter seating. Its replacement: trapezoid-shaped pink-maroonish-colored steel planters and Astroturf on the street surface, and graphite-colored steel rails. It’s design was selected by the City of Milwaukie and not the business.

Unlike the leveled predecessor parklet, the new parklet leaves you feeling like you’re sitting on a listing cruise ship. Everything is mounted on the street surface, which is naturally crowned. I think after a few bottles of Merlot, you might become numbed to the whole travesty anyway. A wooden bench surface is attached to the planters and its vertical backing makes it very complicated and uncomfortable to sit back and chill.

The new parklet would not be so flawed if it were raised and level from the street surface and a bit more comfortable seating on the bench.

Wine:30 parklet on its opening night, Sept. 19, 2014. (Bryan J. Dorr / BJDorr.com)

The Milwaukie Parklet Program started as a two-year pilot program in September 2014. Former Wine:30 owner Jesse Cannelos was the only business owner to participate in the program. The parklet is seasonal from April to November, however it has remained up all year for 2016.

I have pushed to have the parklet as an all-year event. At a regular Milwaukie City Council meeting on Sept. 15, 2015, I testified before the council in support of keeping the parklet up all year round. That was just before the infamous moment where I involuntarily became an impromptu fee structure expert then getting grilled by a council member.

I already miss the former parklet.