Monday, April 21, 2014

Sellwood Riverfront Park

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Today's adventure takes us down to Sellwood Riverfront Park, just north of the Sellwood Bridge, in -- unsurprisingly -- the Sellwood neighborhood of SE Portland. These photos were taken a few years ago, and I think this area's all torn up with Sellwood Bridge construction right now. I'd gone there to take photos of the (soon-to-be-replaced) current bridge, and managed to also take a few decent ones of the surrounding area. So I figured I could get a post about the park out of the deal. Unfortunately I had a bit of a lens dust issue that day, and many of the photos included an obvious hair or piece of lint. So I dropped some photos in a folder and procrastinated about them, because trying to repair dust errors in photos is really annoying and tedious. After mumble-mumble years of ignoring them, and also not going back for dust-free photos, I decided to just go ahead and post them, apologize for the ugly specks, and try to make up for it with scintillating historical research and a sea of fascinating facts.

That strategy would work better if I had more history to work with. But I don't. The park is surprisingly recent in origin, and I've only got a handful of items to share, none of them particularly earthshattering:

  • The city recorded the park as "Undeveloped" in 1983, and applied for a $150k National Park Service grant to help develop it. The Wikipedia article for the park says this was previously a mill site before becoming a park, but that statement isn't sourced and I'm having trouble chasing down info about this previous incarnation.
  • The park was dedicated July 1986, as the very first public river access for SE Portland. (There's river access at Oaks Park too, but it may have still been a private for-profit concern at the time.)
  • Failed renaming attempt in September '86, would have been named for a (then-)living man. Would have become "Dent Thomas Neighborhood Park" if the proposal had gone through. Neighborhood activist, advocated by local neighborhood association. Would have also renamed Alberta Park as "Mumford Park" after a recently deceased local minister, and Irving Park would have become "Stevenson Park" after a recently deceased security guard. Reactions were mixed to the idea.

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