Saturday, June 14, 2014

SW Council Crest & Patrick

SW Council Crest & Patrick

Our next adventure takes us back to the Healy Heights neighborhood in the West Hills, to the little triangle of land at the corner of Council Crest Drive & Patrick Place. This place is a sibling to the little triangle at Council Crest & Carl Place that we just visited; like Carl Place, Patrick Place is apparently named after a relative of Joseph Healy, the real estate developer behind Healy Heights. And like Carl Place, Patrick Place is the third name the street has worn. It was called SW Marquam Place until July 1940. In this case the city said the renaming was to eliminate duplicate street names, and didn't mention the naming nepotism connection.

This renaming was actually controversial at the time; the original name honored pioneer Philip Marquam, and the Daughters of Oregon Pioneers protested the name change. They and others were protesting against the elimination of pioneer names generally, so this may have been the last straw after a series of other events. I'm not entirely sure about that part. Portland's mayor tried to reassure people that they were only changing the name of 200' of one street, not renaming the whole surrounding area, and Marquam Road and Marquam Gulch would continue to bear this good, solid pioneer name. Except that we no longer have a Marquam Road here (as far as I know), and I'm not sure what street it is now. Meanwhile, much of Marquam Gulch was filled in to create Duniway Park not long after this controversy. There's still the Marquam nature park (about which a post is in the works), and the Marquam Bridge, as fugly as it is, and there's even a small Willamette Valley town named Marquam. So it's not as if the guy's been forgotten entirely.

In any event, the street had only been called Marquam Place since the previous Great Renaming, in February 1920; before that it was called Aupen Circle.

Unlike the Carl Place property, this spot isn't on the mysterious but official list of obscure places I've been working off of (though I noticed this one while looking at the map for the Carl Place triangle), and it doesn't have looming radio towers right at the end of the street, although the Stonehenge Tower and the others are certainly visible from here. So I don't have a lot in the way of exciting stories about this place to share. Some would argue I never have exciting stories to share, but hey.

Somewhat uniquely, though, I've actually found one reference to the little sorta-park here, not just the street or the intersection or something in the vague vicinity. July 31st 1952, a William Moyes "Behind the Mike" column included a brief reader note.

MIKE: Candidate for smallest park -- the triangle at Council Crest Drive and Patrick Place, on Healy Heights -- PAULINE KURZ, Portland
I suppose there must have been a previous column guessing about what the smallest one might be. Now, anyone versed in Portland trivia knows that the smallest official city park on Earth is Mill Ends Park, in the middle of Naito Parkway at SW Taylor. Although that's sort of a special case, and it isn't actually a piece of land owned by the city parks bureau. The more obscure Vernon Ross Veterans Memorial, in the Hollywood District, is a piece of land owned by the parks bureau, and it's reportedly the smallest city block in the city, thanks to one of those diagonal intersections where Sandy Boulevard cuts through the regular street grid. The Patrick Place site is larger than either of those two, but neither of the smaller places existed yet in 1952, so it's possible the letter writer was on to something. It's a tax lot with a PortlandMaps entry, which says it comes to 4360 square feet, or almost exactly .1 acre. The entry mentions it's owned by the city transportation bureau, and like the Carl Place triangle it was owned by Multnomah County until 2006 when the city got a hankering to own it and asked for a transfer. Beats me why they'd bother to do that.

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