What and Where Is Terwilliger Parkway?
All who live near or use Terwilliger Boulevard appreciate its scenic nature and trails. But most streets don’t have an active “friends group” continuously advocating for them. What is this “Parkway” we’re so devoted to? We’ll start with a short definition– imprecise but closely aligned with how the term is commonly used.
Terwilliger Parkway (TP) is a linear park running along SW Terwilliger Boulevard from the edge of downtown Portland south for 3.6 miles to Barbur Boulevard in SW Portland. The area is shaded green on the simple map here. It generally includes 100 ft. of Portland Parks and Recreation land on both sides of the roadway consisting of forest corridor, view points, lawns, a playground, and extensive natural areas. It runs along both Duniway Park, Marquam Nature Park, George Himes Park, as well as the OHSU and VA hospitals. The northern 2.5 mile portion of the parkway from Duniway Park to SW Capitol Hwy. is listed as an historic district on the National Register of Historic Places because it was designed by J. C. Olmsted and Emanuel Mische in the City Beautiful Movement era.
Portland adopted the Terwilliger Parkway Corridor Plan and accompanying Design Guidelines in 1983 to protect its defining characteristics. In the words of that document: “Terwilliger Parkway, Boulevard, and Trail are unique and notably successful parts of the City, which allow people to enjoy the natural beauty and setting of Portland while moving through it.” The Plan area extends from Duniway Park south to Barbur Boulevard and includes public and private property on either side of the road that impact the parkway. The Design Guidelines govern development to preserve the scenic and natural character of the area, and “reinforce the primary transportation function of the parkway as a scenic drive and bicycle commuting path.”
The scope of Friends of Terwilliger’s interest in the Parkway extends to this broader area, covering all the ways that neighbors, park users, and various city departments involved can help preserve and enhance the benefits of this scenic corridor. For more information on the full Corridor Plan, Design Guidelines and background Parkway Inventory see the “Resources” section of this website and click on “Plans and Documents”