PORTLAND, Ore. -- It's not just mud. And it's not just rain.

Waterfront Park's messiness, according to the City of Portland's turf expert, can also be blamed on an inch-thick layer of organic material that has formed on the grass during 15 years of use.

Portland Parks' turf guy, Mike Carr, says the layer of material is clogging the drainage system at the park.

The layer made from compressed street grime, mulched leaves and ground-up debris from hundreds of events at the park over the years, he said.

Whatever it is, people don't like it.

We're walking around a lot of the sludge here. It's got an odor to it, said festival-goer Jeremy Perkins. I don't think they're going to sell much food today.

Carr says it could cost about $200,000 to cut and remove the top inch of unwanted material, upgrade the drainage system, then regrade a fresh sand base for the perennial ryegrass.

That work could begin in September.

The City is asking event holders to help chip in for the cost.

It's hard to manage turf in the spring in this type of weather, said Carr. The only way you can do it is keep people off.

Even after the work is complete, another layer would start forming again and have to be removed in another ten or 15 years, Carr said.

Conditions were so bad Wednesday, the City shut the park down. The park reopened Thursday.

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