Some Portland Miscellany

Keeping Portland weird, here is the world’s smallest park: Mill End Park, built and maintained by Portland Parks & Recreation. Not sure what kind of tree that is, but I think a small fir would look better.

Four things not big enough for their own posts:

  1. When we went downtown last week we made an effort to stop by both the Ira Keller fountain and Mill End Park, the smallest park in the world (it’s in the record books). The Keller Fountain was one of my favorite Portland places to visit when I attended Lewis & Clark College in the early 70s, right after the fountain had opened. I appreciate it more now because it’s something that could never be built today (too many potential lawsuits), and the cost of operating a fountain of this type is prohibitive. The fountain was almost empty when we stopped by because the weather was cool, but on hot days it can be filled with people and kids. It was a short walk from there over to Mill End Park, which sits in the middle of the Naito Parkway next to the Tom McCall Waterfront Park which runs along the west side of the Willamette River. There used to be a little fir tree in Mill End Park, but currently there is some other sad-looking little plant.
    I learned that a recurring problem with the Keller fountain (besides the operating costs) is that occasionally over the years pranksters have added dish soap to the cascading water, creating a mess of bubbles. This causes the entire fountain to have to be shut down for cleaning (which is quite expensive).

    There were only (messy) Canada geese gathering in Waterfront Park when we visited, but this is where the Proud Boys will gather.
  2. Speaking of Waterfront Park, on Saturday the right-wing group Proud Boys are going to be holding a “demonstration” there to protest “domestic terrorism.” For some reason, Portland has become a magnet for this group and many are bused in from all over the northwest. And, when they show up so do members of Antifa and the public to counter demonstrate. Although the Proud Boys have a permit to gather, the city has made it known they are not welcome because when they show up things have a tendency to get violent. Initial calls from the group told members to bring weapons and get “ready to rumble,” but apparently they have toned down the rhetoric a bit depending on who you’re listening to. Residents have been warned to stay away from the area and downtown because of the violence that typically erupts when this group shows up and spreads up into the city. The owner of the shoe repair store we stopped at last week says he won’t even bother to open his store – he stays far away. Hopefully, things won’t get out of hand this time but I’m thankful Brett doesn’t have a calligraphy class this week and doesn’t have to go through downtown. Portland is, for the most part, a very peaceful, mellow place and this stuff really rubs most people the wrong way.

    I love the art deco detail we discovered on the top of the Mark O. Hatfield Research Center building (dedicated in 1998).
  3. We’ve had two different daily walking routes while we’ve been here: the forest trail and what we call “the hospital route,” which takes us up and down the seven flights of stairs across the street to the balcony at the Kohler Pavilion for a view out over the city (and then back). We switched up the hospital route a couple of weeks ago and now walk back up a hill through the campus and beyond and then around back down to our apartment. I personally like climbing back up all those stairs for the workout it provides but Brett doesn’t and is happier with the new route (although he says it’s already becoming boring). I’m always finding something new to look at though, and happily noticed a few new architectural details on some of the OHSU buildings that we hadn’t been able to see on our original route. We also tried out a “new” forest route the other day but once of that was enough – it was a somewhat steep uphill climb almost the entire way, and more exhausting and less fun than we imagined.

    My favorite architectural “find” on the OHSU route are these art deco-inspired covers for rainwater drainage troughs.
  4. The new hospital walking route also takes us past our neighborhood cannabis shop, Exhale, one of the many shops that are all over Portland now (it’s legal in Oregon). These shops are everywhere and some of them have come up with some very clever names, sort of like hair salons do. We haven’t stopped in at our neighborhood shop although the prices posted outside seem reasonable and we’ve thought about it. We’ve heard we’d be entitled to a senior discount, but Brett and I feel mellow enough these days (and I definitely don’t need a case of the munchies).

    Our neighborhood cannabis shop. These places are all over Portland now, with some offering discounts and delivery service. The price for three blunts at this shop is $10, less than a bottle of wine.

6 thoughts on “Some Portland Miscellany

  1. The Indica variety of cannabis is good for pain, nausea and for insomnia in some folks. You might want to try it in an edible form if you have these sort of issues as it’s legal there.


    1. Ha! I never though about using it for insomnia. However, when we’re in Portland next December, and if I develop insomnia I amy give it a try. Thanks for the reminder!


  2. I feel so sad about Portland and the rise of white supremacy. there’s a lot to unpack there, between the clash of the liberal urban area & much more conservative smaller towns along the way. Washington has a similar problem.


    1. I personally think there is a huge difference between conservatism and white supremacy, which is what is happening in these violent clashes, and in the rise of groups like the Proud Boys, who feel emboldened these days to violently act out (I also believe misogyny is also playing a role, but that’s another discussion). White supremacists and associated groups have been in the NW for a long, long time, but they’re stepping out of the shadows now. Portland is a diverse city, but not more so than Seattle, for example. I think the layout of the city is advantageous for what this group wants to do (which in this case was foment violence).


  3. I love the tiny park…very clever. Agree that an evergreen might look better. That tree has to be pretty scraggly in middle of January. Ha! Love the Art Deco details. I vary my walks sometime, but generally end up back on the same route except on really hot & humid days when I walk it in reverse to avoid a long uphill climb in direct sun.

    Cannabis shops have become the new coffee shops, I guess. Like you, the last thing I need is a good case of the munchies. 🙂


    1. The pictures I saw of Mill End Park before we visited alway showed a fir tree so I’m not sure what this tree is or why it was put it. It still is cute though. There are other similar places around the city, but this is the only “official” park.

      I like to walk the same route for a while because I know how long it takes, and I like having the time to discover new things along the way. I eventually get ready for a change though. Brett, on the other hand, gets bored very quickly and would rather go a new way each time (same when he drives). We’ve learned to compromise.

      We’ve felt that we should have checked out our local cannabis shop, if nothing else to see what they offer, etc. They’re really a thing here.


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