Saturday, September 06, 2014

SW Nottingham Dr. Circle

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So I was looking at a map of Portland's West Hills a while ago for something or other, and (because I was being a nerd) I noticed a little traffic circle up in the hills between OHSU and Council Crest, at the end of SW Nottingham Drive. I'd done a couple of posts about traffic circles before (because it wasn't the first time I'd been a nerd), and I looked at it on PortlandMaps and noticed it's an actual tax lot owned by the city transportation bureau. So it's not really a city park, but "city-owned" was close enough for various other places that have ended up as blog posts here. So I figured it was worth a look, and it went on my ginormous todo list as somewhere to track down if I was in the area anyway. Which I was, recently, so I drove by and took a couple of photos. I didn't stay long, though. Maybe I was thinking of the recent Dosch Park Circle thing, but if I lived there I'd be puzzled if a strange car drove up and the driver started taking photos of the roundabout at the end of my street. I mean, it's a public right of way and public property, and all of this is undisputed, but "indignant taxpayer who knows his rights" speeches never seem to make much of an impression on Officer Friendly and his friendly taser.

The streets in this area all have Robin Hood names; Nottingham Drive branches off from Sherwood Drive, and there's an Arden somewhere nearby. Rich neighborhoods use Robin Hood names surprisingly often, I suppose just because they sound oh-so-refined and evoke Jolly Olde England ever so much. For some reason they never seem to play up the whole stealing-from-the-rich part of the story. Anyway, the houses along Nottingham Drive are a small 16-home subdivision just called "Nottingham", which only dates to 1969. This bit of infill came around the same time as the big apartment complex proposal that ended up as Marquam Nature Park instead. The developers here were a bit faster than the guys downhill, and the subdivision was already under construction by the time the nature park campaign got underway. The city archives include a photo of the cul-de-sac at the time it was constructed. Sadly the record is online but (as is usual with city archives photos) the photo itself is not available online. I imagine it looked like this but without all the trees.

The nature park's Marquam Trail runs just behind the backyards of some of the houses here on its way uphill to Council Crest, and the trail crosses SW Sherwood not far from the intersection with Nottingham Drive. The land the trail runs on is city-owned but doesn't show up as a park on most maps, since the city auditor's office is the owner of record. That's not uncommon, though I've never figured out why the city auditor needs to own bits of forest around the city. Maybe they're little getaway spots for those days when the spreadsheets don't look so good.

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