Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Burlingame Park

[View Larger Map]

A couple of photos from SW Portland's Burlingame Park, a long narrow sort of place nestled up against Interstate 5 near the Terwilliger Curves. I was originally going to guess this was land left over from freeway construction, based on the shape and location, but the city says it's been a park since 1949, decades before the freeway was built.

The city decided on the site in August 1949, in lieu of a more expensive and controversial proposed park at SW 7th & Taylors Ferry. This was right around the same time Multnomah Blvd. was going in, replacing the old Oregon Electric rail line. The city & county jointly owned much of the land in the area already, and acquisition costs for the rest were estimated at $16,000. The park was originally slated to be eight acres, not the almost-5 acres of today.

By the next year, the proposed park had expanded to eleven acres, including a four acre tract donated by Fred Meyer, which I suppose he owned in connection with his Burlingame store. The article mentions a stream flowing through the park. It looks like the stream is fenced off now, and PortlandMaps says ODOT owns it as part of the I-5 right-of-way.

The city sold a portion of the park to ODOT in 1958; the article says the place was "undeveloped" at the time, and the state paid $3618 for somewhat less than an acre of the park. Based on the acreage numbers we've seen, presumably that was not the only land transfer that, and over time a substantial chunk of the park was shaved off in the name of Progress as the freeway went in, similar to what happened to Kingsley Park up in Linnton, the southern end of the South Park Blocks downtown, and probably elsewhere. As with the Park Blocks, I haven't run across news articles explaining this was going to happen. Unless a database search just isn't revealing them, it seems like this happened without even a squeak of public objection. All this trouble to put in a park, only to lose much of it to freeway construction just a few short years later. That's kind of sad.

No comments :