The new park is named after Ida Bell Jones, a matriarch of Vancouver’s African American community
VANCOUVER – The city of Vancouver has completed construction of Ida Bell Jones Neighborhood Park at T Street & E. 35th Street. The new park is named after Ida Bell Jones, a matriarch of Vancouver’s African American community who played a pivotal role in building trusted networks of support among Black residents post-World War II.
The park name was selected through a pilot project initiated in 2020, designed to increase civic engagement, highlight the diversity of the Vancouver community and honor the city’s history through park naming. Ida Bell Jones Park is the second site to be named through the pilot project, the first was Nikkei Park, which honors the history of Japanese American truck farmers in Vancouver. The Ida Bell Jones Park naming recommendation was presented to Vancouver City Council in October and adopted by resolution (M-4193) on October 10.
Ida Bell Jones Neighborhood Park officially opened to the public on Saturday, Nov. 19 with a celebration that brought together neighbors, community leaders and family members of Ida Bell Jones. Speakers at the ribbon cutting celebration included the Hon. Camara L. J. Banfield, Clark County Superior Court Judge and granddaughter of Ida Bell Jones; Jane Elder Wulff, author and co-founder of the First Families project; and Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle.
The new park is in the Rose Village neighborhood, where Ida Bell Jones lived and raised her family.
About Ida Bell Jones
Ida Bell Jones was a matriarch of the post-World War II African American community in Vancouver. Born in 1908 outside of Blackwell, Arkansas, she moved to Vancouver at age 34 to follow the economic opportunity created by the newly opened Kaiser Shipyards in 1942.
Ida Bell Jones settled in the Rosemere neighborhood with her family, an area now known as Rose Village. She was quick to establish roots in both Vancouver and North Portland and was a founding member of the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church in Portland and active in the Vancouver branch of the NAACP. Her community building efforts to create trusted networks of support on both sides of the river made it possible for Black families to find work and establish roots in Vancouver, despite the racism and discrimination they faced.
Ida Bell Jones died in 2018, at the age of 109. She was known for her warm smile, positive attitude and acceptance for all people who crossed her path.
Information about this park project can be found at www.BeHeardVancouver.org/Rose-Village.
Information provided by city of Vancouver.
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