Children play on the new Mount Rainier climbing structure at the relocated Van Doren’s Landing Park in Kent along Russell Road. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent Parks

Children play on the new Mount Rainier climbing structure at the relocated Van Doren’s Landing Park in Kent along Russell Road. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent Parks

Kent's popular Van Doren's Landing Park reopens at new location

Park moved for Green River levee project by the King County Flood Control District

Now in a new but similar location, the city of Kent’s Van Doren’s Landing Park near the Green River showcases a custom Mount Rainier climbing structure for children among many other features.

“Van Doren’s Landing Park has always been a popular destination for recreation in Kent’s park system,” said Terry Jungman, city parks planning and development manager in a June 6 email. “The improvements to this site starting at the Russell Woods Trailhead and extending to Van Doren’s Landing and all the adjacent areas of the Green River Natural Resource Area creates a space where each of these individual parts are now interconnected and part of a bigger, more holistic park experience.

“A visit to this park truly has something for everyone: playground, regional trail access, open lawn for informal play, community gathering, nature trails, wildlife viewing and so on.”

City crews closed the park in 2020 as part of the estimated $57 million Lower Russell Levee Setback project by the King County Flood Control District. The improvements to the 1.4-mile levee between South 212th Street and South 228th Street (Veterans Drive) will help protect surrounding residential and commercial development from flooding and create additional flood storage and fish habitat.

“Inherent to achieving these goals was the relocation of Van Doren’s Landing Park from its original location along the riverbank just to the east of former Russell Road,” Jungman said. “The old park site was converted to additional flood storage and habitat with recreational trails. The redeveloped park replaced the original amenities and significantly expanded recreational value with additional children’s play, gathering spaces and improved trail connections.”

Jungman said the newly redeveloped Van Doren’s Landing Park has all the basic amenities typical of a community park: restroom, parking lot, two shelters, barbecue pits, children’s play area, Green River Trail access, walking trails, Wiffle ball field, pickleball court, horseshoe pits and an open lawn.

“The children’s play area is a pretty unique amenity and includes a custom Mount Rainier climbing structure with three concrete slides complimented with traditional play equipment, a zip line, swings and a large spinner structure,” Jungman said.

“Because of this impressive collection of play elements, the site is always busy with families and children,” Jungman said.

Count Kent Mayor Dana Ralph among the impressed.

“It provided a great opportunity to reimagine and invest in a new park,” Ralph said of the project. “So while we are creating fish habitat and protecting the valley down there, we are also getting a pretty, new, amazing space.”

The park also features an observation tower that sits close to the river and provides scenic views of the river and the park. The project created better connections between the park and the Green River Natural Resource Area, a popular regional destination for bird watching, with trails and three previously existing view towers.

Another significant improvement completed as part of this project is the separation of the Green River Trail from Russell Road between South 228th to South 212th streets.

“Historically, this segment of trail put bikes and peds on the road, but now this roughly 1 mile segment is completely separated from the road and meets regional trail standards,” Jungman said.

People are expected to make the 10.2-acre Van Doren’s Landing Park a prime destination.

“For most park users, this will feel like a completely new park experience,” Jungman said. “The old Van Doren’s Landing Park and the amenities were starting to show their age with most facilities near or at the end of their useful life. This project has breathed new life into this popular community park with vastly improved infrastructure and a significant increase to recreational value.”

Funding sources

Most of the funds for the nearly $57 million project are from the King County Flood Control District’s property tax measure, which is about 7 cents per $1,000 assessed value.

Grants that helped fund the work included $4.9 million from the state Department of Ecology; about $4.8 million from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board through the state Recreation and Conservation Office; and $300,000 from Cooperative Watershed Management grant, according to the King County Water and Land Division website.

Grand opening

10 a.m. Wednesday, June 28

Van Doren’s Landing Park is at 21901 Russell Road.


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An overview of the new play structures at Van Doren’s Landing Park in Kent, which was relocated due to Green River levee work. The park’s grand opening is at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 28. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent Parks

An overview of the new play structures at Van Doren’s Landing Park in Kent, which was relocated due to Green River levee work. The park’s grand opening is at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 28. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent Parks

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