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:
On behalf of Friends of Terwilliger, Earthwise Law Centerhas recently submitted two sets of formal comments to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regarding the proposed upgrades and improvements to Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC):
FOT is concerned that the inadequate Draft Environmental Assessment and the VA’s conclusion of “no significant impacts” to Terwilliger Parkway by their Washington, DC office, will prevent effective mitigation in the final designs and construction and cause real harm to the Parkway and environment.
Friends of Terwilliger (FOT) met with Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran on Thursday November 11, 2021 to brief her on the status of the Marquam Hill Connector, Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project and concerns that FOT has about these transportation projects and their potential to negatively impact Historic Terwilliger Parkway. We also met with our congressional representatives’ staff virtually.
The Marquam Hill Connector is part of the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project (SWCLRP) proposed by TriMet to provide a connection from the proposed new MAX station at Gibbs Street to Marquam Hill. Marquam Hill has become a complex area as it is home to Oregon Health & Science University (OSHU), the Veterans Administration of Portland, the Shriners Hospital, residences and supporting businesses, and attracts over 18,000 employees, patients, students, and residents each day from all around the region.
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!
A few months ago, a realtor’s “For Sale” sign in Terwilliger Parkway prompted concern from neighbors and Parkway supporters, fearful that a development might threaten the integrity of this linear park. This led to calls to both Friends of Terwilliger and the Portland Parks & Rec (PPR).
A Metro steering committee has decided that a new Southwest Portland light rail line will travel out Barbur Blvd. from downtown Portland to Tigard and Tualatin. A planned station at SW Gibbs St. (below the tram) is intended to serve OHSU and other Marquam Hill institutions that are located several hundred feet up a steep hillside with Terwilliger Parkway lying in between. TriMet and Metro have proposed a “Marquam Hill Connection” to get people up the hillside from the SW Barbur MAX station to OHSU. Three of the proposals involve a combination of above-ground elevator towers and bridges and ramps, most of which would be located in Terwilliger Parkway and will necessitate the removal of many trees and significant alterations to the park. A fourth proposal is to build a pedestrian tunnel under the hillside with an underground elevator to bring people up to OHSU.
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.