April 26th was the 200th anniversary of famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted’s birthday.
Various lectures, symposiums, and discussions have been going on in 2022 to celebrate and call attention to the Olmsted family’s prolific and groundbreaking work.His sons, John Charles and Frederick Law Jr., carried on his work and worked in Portland on various projects starting in 1903. Most notable was their parks master plan for the city that recommended a “South Hillside Parkway” that became Terwilliger Parkway. A proclamation issued by Mayor Wheeler and the Portland City Council perhaps sums up best the impact of the Olmsteds:
It’s been a long time coming, but Terwilliger Parkway has finally been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1985 the Portland Park Bureau hired a consultant to prepare nominations to the National Historic Register for several older city parks. But then they never submitted them to the National Park Service for listing. Now FOT has completed the task!
Friends of Terwilliger has contacted the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) to express our concern for the Totem Pole in the Terwilliger Parkway. The Totem Pole has numerous holes inflicted by wood-boring woodpeckers and is in need of protective restoration, repainting, and care.
The RACC public art “Totem Pole” is located at the Elk Point Viewpoint in the Terwilliger Parkway and was carved by Chief Lelooska in 1959. It became a partof RACC’s Public Art Program in the late 1980’s.
What does the Totem Pole at Elk Point, within the Terwilliger Parkway, have in common with the 1959 Oregon’s Centennial Celebration, Operation Deep Freeze, New Zealand, Antarctica, The Oregon Zoo and John F. Kennedy?
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.
Marquam Hill has a strange and convoluted history that plays into the creation of both Terwilliger Parkway and Oregon Health and Sciences University. Many people wonder how it is that two large medical facilities – OHSU and the VA Medical Center - would be in such a hard-to-access location. To answer that we have to go back to 1880 and efforts to bring the first transcontinental railroad link to the Northwest.
Terwilliger Parkway is a linear park, owned by the City of Portland, that winds south from downtown along the west hills. It consists of the road itself (“Terwilliger Boulevard”) and about 100 ft. of land on either side of the road. The Parkway represents Portland’s early recognition of the value of green spaces within the city, and now provides recreation and relaxation to its many visitors.
Besides being a spectacular site, Eagle Point has a fascinating history. The property adjoins Terwilliger Parkway to the east and straddles the original Donation Land Claims of Elizabeth Thomas Caruthers (north) and James and Philinda Terwilliger (south); Lowell St. was the dividing line between the old claims.