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.
You’ve probably been hearing the term partnership more often lately. Especially here in Portland where collaborative spirit runs deep. Partnership is defined as an association of persons for business, companionship, or an alliance of persons for a common enterprise. Friends of Terwilliger (FOT) has been in existence over 30 years and find ourselves in the company of many like-minded and similarly focused organizations.Here’s the story of one of them.
What would you say is the most identifiable and “iconic” thing about Terwilliger Parkway? The views and lush natural vegetation may be what people most like about Terwilliger, but they don’t really signify the parkway itself. The roadway and adjoining path are the spine of the linear park and are the most significant piece of park infrastructure, but they aren’t very iconic. We think that the historic streetlights that line the roadway are its most identifiable feature.
English Ivy (Hedera Helix) was brought to Oregon in the mid-1800’s as a way to remind early settlers of home. What started out as an innocent plan has come to represent one of the toughest problems Portland’s natural areas face today. It now invades more and more of our parks and will ultimately destroy our cherished tree canopy unless we remove it now. By allowing ivy to grow unchecked it will climb trees where it will mature, produce seeds, and continue the “seeds of destruction” by being transported by non-native birds.
Carol Henry, our new Board member and Treasurer, was talked into this volunteer job by former Treasurer, Cathy Turner, while they canvassed neighborhoods for Friends of Terwilliger (FOT) and pulled ivy together. A strong and positive bonding experience!
Friends of Terwilliger (FOT) continues to partner in restoration grants awarded in SW Portland. As a founding member of the West Willamette Restoration Partnership (WWRP), we help define the restoration parameters to measure and areas to target for invasive plant removals, as well as coordinating and doing restoration work.
During our recent conversations with Parkway neighbors, we learned that many walk or jog on the Parkway. And some frequently include a side trail in their route, while others are unaware of those connectors. So here’s a quick quiz for you!
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.