Portland Parks Foundation (PPF) welcomes Randy Gragg as the new Executive Director. Gragg succeeds Jeff Anderson who recently retired from the role. Bringing a dynamic background in journalism, urban planning, and advocacy, Gragg will lead the organization that serves as the chief philanthropic partner for the City of Portland’s Parks & Recreation.
For nearly 30 years, Gragg has helped to shape conversations about the city of Portland’s spaces and culture. His leadership and advocacy has helped champion a number of public parks projects, including Eastbank Esplanade, Pioneer Courthouse Square, and Lawrence Halprin’s Portland Open Space Sequence, also known as Lovejoy Fountain, Pettyrove Park, and Keller Fountain.
“The Portland Parks Foundation is proud of the impacts we've made on Portland’s Parks system, most recently the Barbara Walker Footbridge over Burnside, opening next summer,” said Mary Ruble, the foundation’s Board Chair. ”With Randy Gragg at the helm of the Foundation, our goal is to increase our visibility and expand our range of public/private partnerships to build a stronger and more vibrant parks and recreation system throughout Portland. We are honored to have Randy join us, and look to his vision and experience to take us to new heights.“
As a journalist, Gragg served as Editor-in-Chief at Portland Monthly Magazine from 2009-2013 and as a columnist and reporter at the Oregonian for 17 years. More recently he has developed exhibitions and public programs with Design Week Portland. From 2013-2017, Gragg was the Executive Director of the University of Oregon’s John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape where he developed a major 2017 retrospective for the Portland Art Museum on the seminal Oregon architect and landscape designer John Yeon.
“Portland is entering an exciting era,” Gragg said. “The city is growing dramatically, not just in numbers, but with deepening cultural diversity, creativity, and awareness. With the Parks Foundation’s 16-year legacy of good work to build on, we’re ready to partner with Portland’s wide-ranging communities to create new parks and programs, refresh those we have, even rethink what a park is and where it can be.”
Gragg was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and an inaugural National Arts Journalism Fellow at Columbia University. His volunteer affiliations include roles as a board member with Pioneer Courthouse Square and the Alumni Council Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University. As board chair of the Halprin Landscape Conservancy, he co-led the development of an innovative $4.5-million public/private partnership to restore Halprin’s world-renowned fountain plazas.
Portland Parks & Recreation recently came under the leadership of City Commissioner Nick Fish, who will also be the Foundation’s City Council liaison. “Randy is a respected community leader and will bring a strong vision during this time of growth for the Portland Parks Foundation,” said Portland Parks Commissioner Nick Fish. “I look forward to building on our longstanding partnership and expanding Portland’s world-class parks and recreation system.”
About Portland Parks Foundation
The Portland Parks Foundation is devoted to building a thriving and accessible parks system for a healthy, sustainable, and creative Portland. We are the chief philanthropic partner for Portland Parks & Recreation. Through leadership, partnership, and philanthropy, we advance the City of Portland’s commitment to excellence, equity, inclusion, and good stewardship of our public parks. PPF will soon complete the Barbara Walker Footbridge over Burnside. We have played key roles in the creation of Cully Park, Director Park, the Bill Naito Legacy Fountain, the Gateway Green Master Plan, and the Dawson Park interactive fountain. PPF also provides technical assistance and financial support to parks affiliates and friends groups.
Photo courtesy of Sabina Poole.