Monday, October 31, 2016

SW Fairmount & Sherwood

The anatomy of an ongoing blog project here looks something like this: I find or compile a list of places and things (parks, bridges, statues, murals, etc.), usually around Portland (for convenience), the more esoteric the better. I track them down, take a few photos of widely varying quality, and attempt to write something interesting, often while protesting that the subject isn't very interesting and the entire project is perhaps ill-conceived. There's one project in particular that I grumble about a lot: Many moons ago, I ran across a list of obscure places on the city archives website, all places the parks bureau had spent money on at some point between the 70s and early 90s. I thought it might be interesting to try to track them down. Some turned out to be obscure but real city parks, others random bits of road landscaping, and sometimes they weren't anything at all anymore. The city took the list down at some point, but I had the foresight(?) to include a copy in a post back in 2011, so I've sort of felt obligated to keep going for the sake of completeness, I suppose thanks to our old friend the sunk cost fallacy.

So as you might have guessed, this is another installment in that particular project. The list said there was something at the intersection of SW Fairmount Blvd. & Sherwood Place, two roads that wind around in the West Hills. What turns out to be there is a bit of vacant land, with a small gravel turnaround or parking lot and a sloping bit with some trees and blackberry bushes. PortlandMaps says it's all considered street right-of-way, so it's not really a city park, and I couldn't guess what sort of improvements the parks bureau might have made here a few decades back. Unless it's the gravel lot, maybe. Or maybe there's forgotten art or a disused fountain or rusty 70s playground equipment under the blackberries, although I rather doubt that. That's not how it usually turns out with this project. Usually I'm left scratching my head and wondering why it was included on that dumb list, and I never get a good answer. So it goes.

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