Thursday, August 02, 2007

Semi-obligatory Mill Ends post

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If you read any list of Official Quirky Factoids about Portland, before long you'll come to the obligatory bit about Mill Ends Park, which is supposedly the world's smallest city park, as far as anyone knows -- although the similar claim about Forest Park being the largest was debunked a few years back, so this may or may not be true. Either way, this is the place, in all its glory.

Occasional updates:

  • 7/31/2010: Added an aerial photo to hopefully give a better idea of where the park is, and just how small it is. Hint: It's the round green bit in the middle of the intersection of Naito & Taylor, a little above the "Mill Ends Park" Wikipedia link. Yes, Wikipedia's wrong again. Big surprise there, I know.
  • 1/29/2011: On the other hand, if you go to the aforementioned Wikipedia article about the place, you'll notice that its top photo of the park looks extremely familiar. Creative Commons FTW.
  • Updated 9/5/2022: It seems someone has finally accepted the challenge of making a park even smaller than Mill Ends. In July 2022 the small city of Talent, Oregon unveiled one thatʻs a whole 78 square inches smaller, as a cheap way to cheer people up as the town rebuilds after a devastating forest fire back in 2020. I mean, you canʻt really be mad at them for doing that when you understand why, although the Portland Parks & Rec Bureau scoffed that rival park in Talent has no leprechauns, which is true as far as anyone knows. I would also like to point out that the park in Talent is a hexagon, which places it in an entirely different category than normal, non-hexagonal city parks, so the two arenʻt really direct competitors. And even if they were, if you measure smallness by the ratio of the park area to the total area of the city -- which is entirely reasonable -- Mill Ends is still the smallest by a wide margin. See, there are 4,014,489,600 square inches in a square mile, and Portland is much larger in area than Talent at 145 square miles vs 1.33. So Talentʻs park is 0.000000070047014 of the overall city, while Mill Ends takes up just 0.000000000776498 of Portland. Youʻll probably need to copy those numbers into Notepad or count the decimal places a couple of times to be sure, but by the ratio method Talentʻs new park is a whopping 90.2 times larger. So thereʻs that, at least. Though Portland is by no means the largest city by area in the US -- weʻre way down in 77th, in fact, if you count consolidated city-counties, so the largest one (Sitka, AK, believe it or not) could potentially beat us (ratio-wise) completely by accident with a 10ʻ x 10ʻ plaza, big enough for a park bench or maybe two. So thereʻs a potential downside to that approach too, I guess.
Mill Ends Park
Mill Ends Park

Since I was primarily looking for good IR shots, I had the camera set on ISO 400, and forgot to switch it to "Auto" for the broad-daylight ones, which is why they look a little weird. I'd go take more, but I have no idea when it's going to be sunny again, if ever, so I figure I might as well just go with these.

Mill Ends Park

The last photo is from about a block away from the park. This marker refers to some sort of "Lewis and Clark Botanical Memorial" that isn't actually there, as far as I'm able to determine. I realize I'm not that skilled at identifying plants, but none of the plants listed on the sign are in evidence nearby. I also don't recall that there was anything special here before the big Naito Parkway remodel, either. So in a sense it takes up zero square inches, vs. Mill Ends' 452, which isn't even a fair fight. Although in another sense it's merely tied with a vast number of other nonexistent places, and you can't very well compile a complete list of those. So I suppose the Botanical Memorial has to be disqualified on a technicality....

Mill Ends Park

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