Mill Ends: The Smallest Park In The World

Mill Ends Park is a Portland landmark and a must to visit, no matter if you're a local or visitor.  

Acknowledged by The Guinness Book of World Records as the Smallest Park in the World, Mill Ends has a whimsical history and a peculiar location. A spin around the park will only take approximately 1 minute, so just do it!

Mill Ends Park

On the west side of the river nestled between opposing traffic lanes, flanked by two posts on Naito Parkway at Taylor St., is Mill Ends Park. 899 SW Naito Parkway.

Roughly 2 feet in diameter, the smallest park in the world is the quirky and nationally famous park created by newspaperman Dick Fagan, back in 1946. From Fagan's office window at the Oregon Journal newspaper, Fagan had a view of a hole in the street where a lamp post was supposed to be installed. When the lamp post failed to be installed Fagan decided to beautify his office window view. He filled the hole in with dirt and planted flowers.

Mill Ends Park 2

As a journalist, and an Irishman with a colorful imagination, Fagan began incorporating the park in his column, Mill Ends (rough, irregular pieces of lumber left over at lumber mills). He wrote tales about a village of leprechauns who inhabited the park and announced park events like, snail races! Fagan proclaimed the park the “World’s Smallest Park” and it was dedicated on St. Patrick’s Day in 1948. Officially Mill Ends became a city park on St. Patrick’s Day in 1976. And in 1971 Guinness proclaimed Mill Ends Park the world’s smallest park.

Depending on the season, and the creativity of the people who visit the park, a plethora of foliage, animals ( horses, unicorns, turtles) and design elements (swimming pools, ferris wheels, fences, benches) and even a UFO sighting has been documented at this tiny park. Even ‘big people’ have been seen taking their lives in their hands ( it does sit between two highly trafficked lanes on Naito) catching some rays, reading a book, celebrating during the wee hours of the morning, and one yelper had this to say about the park: “I almost want my boyfriend to propose in this park just to say it happened…”

Mill Ends Park 3

To this day the park, and the area along Naito Parkway, continues to host one of Portland’s largest St. Patrick's Day celebrations—the Shamrock Run. A plaque that briefly details the history of the park is located on the sidewalk intersection of Taylor St. and Naito Parkway.

Mill Ends Park 4

 

 

 

 

 

Bp2p Series: Hopworks Bike Bar

Hopworks Bike Bar sits along the main bike commuter route on North Williams Avenue—known to cyclists as “the bike highway.” A staggering 3,000 bike commuters utilize this route on a daily basis. Paying ode to these cyclists and adhering to the eco-consciousness of today’s lifestyles, Bike Bar was created to exemplify both. To learn more about Bike Bar pick up a copy of The Best Places To Pee: A Guide To The Funky and Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland here!

 

Hopworks Bike Bar, 3947 N. Williams Ave., Portland 

Hopworks Bike Bar, 3947 N. Williams Ave., Portland 

Last Thursday On Alberta

Last Thursday On Alberta is an epic block party held every, you guessed it, last Thursday of the month!  Last Thursday happens year round, but during the peak summer months the street is closed from 6:00-9:30 to all vehicle traffic (May-September) and runs from 15th to 30th Avenues.

Last Thursday 4

What started out 19 years ago as an event to highlight the local galleries has morphed into a celebration of  community and all forms of art. Many people have branded Last Thursday as the "fun sister" of the other monthly Thursday festival—First Thursday in The Pearl .

Last Thursday, compared to First Thursday, is full of shenanigans, unpredictable and never dull or boring. If you are a fan of First Thursday in The Pearl, chances are you will also enjoy Last Thursday on Alberta as well.  Here's why...

The artists who set up booths to peddle their wares are driven by passion and their desire to create. The end result, one-of-a-kind statement pieces at bargain prices. Musicians are encountered on every corner and with just as much variety. Some belt out awesome cover songs, some play the accordion and make you feel like you're at a street festival in an obscure European village, African drums are played with verve, funk, punk—you name it,you'll hear it on Alberta Street.

Last Thursday 3

Food, mmmmm, we all know Portland has a knack for gourmet street food. It's no different at last Thursday on Alberta. Enticing smells permeate the air, mingling neighborly with the variety of  spices and and smells that have converged along this street. The restaurants are crowded, and honestly you can go to eat their any other night of the week, so why not enjoy slowly cruising the street and grabbing a bite from a vendor.

Last Thursday

Those are some of the parallels to the "sweeter goody-goody sister," what you gain by hanging out with the more whimsical, fickle sister  are experiences that leave vivid  footprints across the landscape of your memories. Stilt walkers, fire performers, a girl with a bigillion hula hoops circling her body, adults and children dancing for no other reason than to please themselves, light-hearted humorous folks; a guy was giving away Free Shrugs, another had a sign that read: 'You tell me your story and I'll give you a dollar'.

Last Thursday 2

The scene on Last Thursday on Alberta is definitely a Portland experience. Some of the best hours of people watching you'll ever encounter.

Cash is preferred but most vendors take credit. It's kid friendly but I will warn that the street gets very crowded, so unless you stay on the perimeter or your kid is an admirer of knee caps and shoes, it's better to go early stroll the street before the bulk of Portlanders converge.The summer months are always much busier.

Savor the art, the people, the food and the music! Let loose a little, dance in the street, tell a stranger your story-pet a pig! Have fun, take pictures and enjoy the experience of Last Thursday on Alberta!

Last Thursday 4

 

 

 

Bp2p Series: Bastas

Bastas Trattoria has been a Portland favorite for over 20 years. Owner and chef, Marco Frattaroli grew up both in Italy and the United States and regards his family and heritage  as his greatest influence for his delicious cuisine. To read more about the this local favorite pick up your copy of The Best Places To Pee: A Guide To The Funky & Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland here!

Bastas Trattoria, 410 NW 21st Ave., Portland 

Bastas Trattoria, 410 NW 21st Ave., Portland 

Artist: Ursula Barton

A native Portlander, Ursula Barton captures two of Portland’s most iconic descriptors, bridges and rainy days in her watercolor series entitled: Rainy City.  Barton, the artist and her work represent the moxie of Portland, the boldness and courage to create a livelihood doing what you love.

Tillikum Cossing, Portland, OR

A  joint venture with a photographer took Barton to all 50 states and solidified her notion that travel, observing people, painting and using art as a language was how she wanted to spend the rest of her days.

An artist's residence took Barton to New York City and supplied her with beautiful new bridges and cityscapes to paint. She captures each city’s architectural landscape with beauty and vibrancy.

Brooklyn Bridge at Night

People of  Interest is a category on her website comprised of a collection of mixed media caricature portraits of people in the public eye.

                                    Orson Wells

                                    Orson Wells

                                 Zach Galifianakis

                                 Zach Galifianakis

Her  greeting card line, postcards and prints are available in boutiques throughout the city and through her Etsy shop. If you’re in Portland, Ursula’s murals can be seen throughout the city on public walls and various businesses like the Daily Cafe in the The Pearl, The Rose Lounge in Old Town and inside The Goldsmith Building, visible from Couch St between 5th & 6th Ave.

A big thank you goes out to Barton for allowing me to use her cityscape entitled: Fremont Bridge as a part of my Girl On The Go PDX logo. The Fremont Bridge holds a sweet spot for me, I could see this beauty from the roof of my first apartment in Portland.

Fremont Bridge, Portland OR

Be sure to peruse all Barton’s work on her website, her Etsy shop, or better yet schedule an appointment to see her work in person at her studio: Jailhouse Studio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zach Galifianakis

Portlandia, She's Not Just A Show On IFC

When you say Portlandia, most immediately think of Fred and Carrie and the dream of the 90’s being alive in Portland. Although northwest hipsters with beards and angry cyclists are synonymous with Portland culture these days, Portlandia— the sculpture—has been an iconic Portland landmark for locals for over 30 years. Portlandia is a copper sculpture created by Raymond Kaskey. She is the second largest copper statue in the world, only rivaled by Lady Liberty herself. Despite her enormous size, her perch above the entrance to the Michael Graves’ building, home to the Portland’s parks and recreation department downtown, can make her rather inconspicuous to uneducated passersby.  Portlandia, Portland Building 1120 SW 5th Avenue.

When you say Portlandia, most immediately think of Fred and Carrie and the dream of the 90’s being alive in Portland. Although northwest hipsters with beards and angry cyclists are synonymous with Portland culture these days, Portlandia— the sculpture—has been an iconic Portland landmark for locals for over 30 years.

Portlandia is a copper sculpture created by Raymond Kaskey. She is the second largest copper statue in the world, only rivaled by Lady Liberty herself. Despite her enormous size, her perch above the entrance to the Michael Graves’ building, home to the Portland’s parks and recreation department downtown, can make her rather inconspicuous to uneducated passersby.  Portlandia, Portland Building 1120 SW 5th Avenue.

Portlandia was built in Washington D.C., in sections and then shipped to Portland by ship. She was then reassembled, measuring 34 feet,10 inches ( if standing upright she would measure 50 feet tall) and floated on a barge up the Willamette River. On October 6, 1985 she was installed in her cozy alcove on the 3rd floor of the Portland Building like the world’s largest tchotchke.

The statue design is based on the Portland seal. She is dressed in classical clothes, holding a trident in her left hand symbolizing the abundance of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. Her right hand is reaching down to greet visitors. She is massive, yet she is easily walked past without the slightest glance upward.

People have questioned why not move her to a more prominent location? The answer given, she was built for that particular building space and will not be moved. The sculpture is a product of Portland’s Public Art Program.

Next time you’re downtown, look her “up” - otherwise you’ll walk right past her.

For the extensive history of Portlandia click here.

 

Portland Building 1120 SW 5th Avenue.  

Portland Building 1120 SW 5th Avenue.

 

Bp2p Series: Bishops Barbershop

Leo Rivera had a vision to take this universal, albeit uneventful experience of getting a haircut and turn it into an experience by submerging it within a bar-like setting. To learn more about Bishops Barbershop pick up your copy of The Best Places To Pee: A Guide To The Funky And Fabulous Bathrooms Of Portland her!

 

Bishops Barbershops, Colorful Locations throughout Portland.

Bishops Barbershops, Colorful Locations throughout Portland.

Legendary Long Distance Runner: Steve Prefontaine

Steve Prefontaine: Legendary Long Distance Runner

Legendary long distance runner from Coos Bay, OR. Mural is located on NW Park & Everette.  

Legendary long distance runner from Coos Bay, OR. Mural is located on NW Park & Everette.

 

Some people create with words or with music or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, ‘I’ve never seen anyone run like that before.’ It’s more than just a race, it’s a style. It’s doing something better than anyone else. It’s being creative.
— Steve Prefontaine

Experience The Willamette Valley From A Helicopter

Enjoy Oregon's Willamette Valley from the ground up! A helicopter tour over the vineyards is beautiful and more affordable than you might think with Konect Aviation.  Last week while attending the wine club picnic at Stoller Vineyards, which incidentally is one of my favorite wineries in the Willamette Valley, Konect Aviation was on site offering helicopter tours of the surrounding vineyards.

Without having to be asked twice, we immediately said “yes” and boarded the 4 seater helicopter.  We clicked our seatbelts and adjusted our headsets, then took a half dozen pictures of each other wearing those headsets. There’s just something about wearing those headsets and talking through the microphone that are seems so adventurous!  

It felt effortless reaching our soaring height, high above the vineyards. We did experience some wind and that was a little nerve racking.  The helicopter is so light, it can get carried along a little with the wind current—but that was minor and the views were major, so our nerves settled as quickly as the wind did.

Our pilot pointed out all the wineries and was able to label the surrounding regions as we flew past. When it was time to land, it was precise and the descent was gentle with a touchdown that was so soft.

Konect Aviation is based out of McMinnville and offers an array of flight tour destinations and lengths.  Flights start at $138 for 2 people and can be customized to include a destination of your choice.