Ninety Minutes in the West Portland Park and Arnold Creek Neighborhoods

In the West Portland Park and Arnold Creek neighborhoods on a cold hazy-sunny day last weekend, I found several things of interest. First, this white house and blue boat.
Where to BeginI liked the way the red tree branches stood out against the house’s white paint.House with Red BranchesThe garage window and doors were unusual, and the red fish sculpture brought out the natural colors of the branches.GarageLooking back down the street, the boat was barely visible through the trees. The 17-acre wooded area on the left has two names: West Portland Park Natural Area, and Loll Wildwood. (Some of my internet research said it is managed by Metro, and some said Portland Parks. If I learn more, I will update this.) The headwaters of Arnold Creek are in these woods – see a map here.West Portland Park Natural AreaThe grassy picnic area was surrounded by trees.Picnic TableThe boat was the color of a lake on a sunny day. Blue BoatThe 17 acres of wooded land behind the picnic area was brushy, and no trails were discernible.Natural AreaHeading home, I saw this sign.Bovees Nursery SignI followed the arrow into a residential area, and eventually saw the entrance to Bovees Nursery.Bovees GateGateAs I took some pictures, Mr. White Smith came out through the gate, accompanied by his dog Susie. He said his wife owns the business, and that they sell tropical rhododendrons and other rare plants. I commented that “White” is an unusual first name. He agreed, and said it was his father’s and grandfather’s name as well.White Smith with SusieHe told me to be sure to come back in the spring and summer when there would be more to see. He was right. This winter day all I could see were lots of bare trees with little name tags.Bare Trees for SaleIf there is any humor in climate change, they found it for this bit of marketing on their car:Bumper StickerHe gave me his card:CardA couple of the houses along the street had these greenish ponds:Pond 1Pond 2A couple of mossy old trailers were parked on the side of the street, ready for action.TrailersAs I drove toward home, I noticed a historical marker on the side of SW 35th Avenue.Historical Market on SW 35th AvenueOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe plaque:Ernest Loll PlaqueAs it happened, Ron Lansing, retired law professor and writer with an interest in Portland history, was out for a walk, and stopped to chat with me for a moment. He pointed over the rock wall to the area down in the ravine where Deputy Sheriff Ernest Loll was shot. A little creek runs through here, and from the map I think it is (or feeds) Arnold Creek.Looking Down into the GullyYou can read more here and here of the story of Deputy Loll, who confronted two young men who were hunting pheasant out of season. They shot Deputy Loll, fled to Washington, and were later apprehended and convicted of the crime. I walked along the street, and wondered about the person who placed the little blue heart on the plaque. And I thought about what this area looked like in 1935, when it was just woods and wildlife.Returning to my CarI returned to my car and noticed something about the sign next to it.SignFree Cascadia. Of course.Free Cascadia*  *  *  *  *  *  *

This well may be my most disjointed blog post to date, yet it is a true account of how I spent hour and a half last week. The wooded hills of Southwest Portland keep their secrets close, so you have to search, listen, and notice.


6 responses to “Ninety Minutes in the West Portland Park and Arnold Creek Neighborhoods

  1. I am pretty sure I know who put the cascadia sticker on the deer sign, my neighbor across the street, who is involved with that movement and designed its flag. I have driven by the historical marker so many times, as I live in this neighborhood (on SW Comus Street) and have never bothered to look. Thank you for sharing about it!

  2. This is cool to hear about your neighbor. As I understand it, the Cascadia secessionist movement has several goals, one of which is to bring environmental awareness and protection to the bioregion including parts of Western Canada, Washington, and Oregon. I think the deer would have liked that idea. Thank you very much for writing.

  3. Your wandering and enjoyment of what you discover/see reminds me to notice my surrounds and be present in the moment and to be curious. Thanks for bringing me into your present moments as you walk, discover and then share what you see. A good reminder to just breathe and be!

  4. That was a fascinating tale about the SW park and the Arnold Creek neighborhood. The monument to the Deputy Sheriff who lost his life there in 1935 was an interesting bit of history.

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