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 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.