Thursday, November 03, 2011

Columbia Buffer Strip Property

Columbia Buffer Strip Property

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Today's obscure city park is the "Columbia Buffer Strip Property", a long, skinnny piece of land that runs along the south side of busy, industrial Columbia Boulevard in North Portland, separating it from the adjacent residential neighborhood. A city document I ran across indicates that the buffer strip was created when Columbia Boulevard was widened around 1970, from leftover parts of lots acquired for the widening, plus vacated rights of way from residential streets that no longer intersect with Columbia.

One reason the leftover land became a park (rather than adjoining houses getting bigger yards, say) is that there's a major sewer line running roughly under the park, in the direction of the nearby Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant, hence several parcels of the park are technically owned by the oh-so-delicately-named Bureau of Environmental Services rather than the Parks Bureau, although there's no obvious difference on the surface.

The park has a meandering bike path along much of its length, and a BikePortland map shows it as a proposed official bike route. Or at least I assume they mean the path through the park, rather than riding among all the semis and dump trucks on Columbia.

I do see people using the path regularly on the rare occasions when I'm up in this part of town, so it's really not the most obscure city park I've ever covered; it's just that there aren't any signs announcing it's a park or giving the name of the place. As is often the case, the Parks Bureau's website is no help, and elsewhere on the interwebs it only appears as a name in a list or on a map. Until now, I guess.

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