Tuesday, October 28, 2008

East Park Blocks: Firland Parkway

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This stop on our tour of Portland's East Park Blocks takes us to Firland Parkway, along SE 72nd Avenue between Holgate & Foster. This is the first chunk of East Park Blocks that I visited, because it's the only one on the list that appears on most city maps. I searched the net a little about the place, and came across a thread in the Foster Powell Neighborhood group on Flickr: "An Olmstead designed park in FoPo?". Which intrigued me, as you might imagine. I'm still not 100% sold on the Olmsted connection, but any parkway like this can at least be fairly called "Olmsted-inspired". For whatever that's worth, I mean. That's the sort of term you use when you're trying to sell real estate, or lure a Starbucks to the neighborhood. Sort of like "FoPo", come to think of it.

After reading that thread and researching further, I came to realize there were a bunch of other stretches of park blocks around town, and a new project was born. It seems these things always start small...

Firland Parkway

Anyway, Firland Parkway seems like a pretty quiet place, in a (perhaps surprisingly) quiet neighborhood. I did come across a couple of posts about a plant swap held at the north end of the parkway. That's about it for excitement. Which I imagine is how the neighborhood likes it.

Firland Parkway

I was initially puzzled about why Firland Parkway shows up on maps when the other don't, but I think I've finally figured out the reason. After consulting PortlandMaps, it seems that most of the East Park Blocks are just part of the rights-of way of the streets they're on. Legally speaking, they're merely extremely wide medians, and aren't "properties" in their own right. Firland Parkway is one exception. Why, I don't know, but here are the PortlandMaps pages on the two long blocks that comprise the place. While we're being pedantic and tedious about this, I should note that the city auditor's office is listed as the legal owner of both parcels, rather than the Parks Bureau. This isn't actually all that unusual. You also see the city property manager listed as owner a lot too. Again, I don't know why; it just sort of is that way.

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