Eagle Point: Fulfilling a Vision
by Anton Vetterlein, President
Last year Portland fulfilled a 100 year-old vision: the acquisition of Eagle Point on Terwilliger Parkway. Eagle Point is a prominent knoll on the east side of the parkway near the entrance to the VA Medical Center. Early plans for the parkway by the Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects and their protégé, Portland Parks superintendent Emanuel Mische, featured Eagle Point as a major viewpoint. But the one acre property was privately owned and already had a house on it.
One of the views through the trees from Eagle Point
The various occupants were good stewards who appreciated their Terwilliger location and maintained the property’s native tree canopy and natural character. When the last owner needed to sell the property, he negotiated to sell it to Portland so that it could become part of the Parkway. The city used money accrued from System Development Charges to make the purchase with the assistance of Trust for Public Lands. Friends of Terwilliger advocated strongly for the purchase, to preserve this notable site that contributes to the natural beauty of the parkway.
The Parks Bureau budget currently has no funds to develop the viewpoint. Friends of Terwilliger will continue to advocate for the eventual realization of the one hundred year old vision of its famous designer.
We're working on a preview event at the property this fall. Save the date - Saturday, September 27 - and watch for more information later this summer!
Parkway Improvements - Greenway Projects
Beginning construction this April and May will be two City Neighborhood Greenway projects along SW Terwilliger Boulevard, just north of the Terwilliger-Barbur intersection. Closest to that intersection, a large “Green Street” feature designed by the Bureau of Environmental Services will be installed at SW Caldew Drive and SW 7th Avenue. This improvement will better define and separate the intersections of SW Caldew Drive and SW 7th Avenue, and a large swale will be landscaped with native plants. The area was identified back in 1983 as a needed improvement within the Terwilliger Parkway Corridor Plan.
There's more happening just a bit further up Terwilliger, at the intersections with SW Chestnut Street and SW 6th Avenue. The present grassy island will be reconfigured with Green Street swales, improved pedestrian crossings, two-way traffic turning on SW 6th, and a re-landscaped island with native plants. (See diagram at left. And see more background on the entire project on our website.)
Friends of Terwilliger coordinated with the Bureaus of Transportation, Environmental Services, and Parks, as well as the Hillsdale Neighborhood Association, regarding the project locations and amenities. As a result, the swale design at SW Caldew and SW 7th incorporates the foundation for a southern Terwilliger Parkway "gateway" sign, planned to match the north gateway sign installed at Duniway Park during our Centennial. We are currently looking for funding to complete the sign.
These Neighborhood Greenway projects will significantly enhance the Parkway visually at these prominent locations, substantially improve pedestrian / bicycle safety, and enhance water quality through storm water management.
Parkway Improvements - Restoration
Have you heard chain saws in the park??
Don't worry, the forest isn't being logged! From now through June, the Bureau of Environmental Services is cutting ivy and clematis from heavily infested trees in parts of Terwilliger Parkway and adjoining Marquam Nature Park. Crews are using machetes, chainsaws, and pruners. Much of the work will be occurring on steep slopes that aren't practical or safe for our volunteer crews to reach. These large vines add tremendous weight to the treetops and can accelerate the decline of this important tree canopy. The "up in the sky" ivy vines are also more likely to bear seeds, which are then spread by birds throughout the area.
Celebrate Your Birthday and Help the Parkway!
That's exactly what board member Robin Vesey did this summer for her 60th – invited friends to clear tree ivy in the Parkway. In just 3 hours, party-goers had cleared 190 trees of ivy. That's 6 trees per person!! Thanks to all. Our trees are loving the non-ivy look.
Ongoing restoration work continues monthly. In 2013, we hosted 14 work parties with groups from Hands on Greater Portland, Multnomah County Alternative Community Service, Homestead Neighborhood Association, Portland Parks and Rec Youth Crew, and University of Portland. In all, our volunteers contributed over 1800 hours to the Parkway.
Do you have an office or friends' group that would like to host a special party? Check out our web site for the dates and times of our monthly work parties. Or call Robin at 503-293-1069 to discuss possibilities. We're always open to any ideas that help benefit Portland's beloved linear park.