Monday, February 10, 2014

Moonshadow Park

Moonshadow Park
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Today's adventure takes us to the sorta-Portland, sorta-Beaverton borderlands of Garden Home, and the enticingly-named Moonshadow Park. I absolutely admit it went on my todo list strictly because of the name. After a little research, it turns out the place is named after the surrounding late-1970s subdivision, which in turn may or may not be named after the 1971 Cat Stevens song. That sort of thing typically goes unreported-on and unrecorded in real estate news stories. I found a vintage clip of the song on YouTube to try to liven this post up a little. I'd forgotten what a strange and gruesome little song it is. I assume life in its namesake neighborhood isn't quite so gory.

Anyway, back in the 70s this was the site of a rather acrimonious land use battle. Back then there were still large undeveloped tracts of land here and there in the Garden Home area, and 70s also saw the rise of the modern environmental movement -- particularly in Oregon -- so battles over infill development were common. A 1975 proposal for either this plot or another nearby was fought off by the "Friends of Ash Creek Woods". (Ash Creek being the creek that flows through the park here.) The Moonshadow proposal came up in 1979 and quickly met with opposition from homeowners in surrounding neighborhoods, one of their several concerns being that development would adversely affect the creek. Washington County eventually approved the proposal, and creating a public park along Ash Creek was part of the finalized deal.

In retrospect, the concerned neighbors may have been on to something. In 1996, a US Fish & Wildlife study described ongoing creek restoration efforts in Moonshadow Park. The problems were the usual Portland park problems: Degraded water quality, erosion, and an influx of English ivy and Himalayan blackberry. As of last year, Metro was still organizing volunteer work parties to try to control invasive plants in the park.

I do need to apologize for the single low quality photo in this post. The park's in the middle of its namesake subdivision, and there isn't any dedicated parking for the park. I would have just parked on the street in front of the main entrance (such as it is), but there was a postal van in the way just then and I didn't feel like circling the block or parking in front of someone's house. So I snapped a quick photo of the sign and went on my merry way. I figured this was ok because the park was mostly on my list due to the name but I kind of regret not getting out of my car for this, or at least for not rolling down the window when I took the photo.

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