every park in portland race reports running

Parks & Rec/EPIP: Fernhill

NE 37th Avenue and Ainsworth Street
Neighborhood: Concordia
Portland Parks & Rec Page

Ladies & gentlemen & everyone in between, we’ve got a rare crossover episode, a mashup of Every Park in Portland and a running recap! (Sort of.)

In researching new potential 5k races to sign up for recently, I discovered that Portland Parks & Recreation hosts five 5k races over the spring and summer, from May until September. They only cost $5 per event and you can buy a t-shirt for the season for only $8. So, for the cost of less than one 5k event, you can run five and get a t-shirt! Sign me up! (I did. I signed up for all of them.)

The first of these five events took place in Fernhill Park, way up in Northeast Portland, a couple of blocks north of the Kennedy School McMenamins. (Which is famous for being a school that was turned into a restaurant/hotel campus that also has lounging pools because why not.) I ended up walking this 5k because of tendonitis in my achilles that I absolutely did not want to aggravate. Hence, no time listed. But even if it was timed, I probably wouldn’t list it for reasons I’ll get to in a second.

It was a fun little event, extremely casual and family friendly. They had a timing clock (no chips or anything though), but the clock itself wasn’t working, so you had to rely on your watch, or on the host guy who hyped everyone up and was very exuberant about it, which I appreciated. He also called out your time when you crossed the finish line, which was nice! They gave out ribbons instead of medals, a first for my running career.

After and during the race there were a couple of booths, one for raffles and one for general Parks & Rec info. Foot Traffic was surprisingly there as well, though I never got close enough to that booth to figure out if they were giving stuff away. Apparently there were bananas for finishers but by the time I finished, there were no bananas. I’m find with this, we all know I hate Post-Race Bananas.

The park itself is gorgeous. Huge and picturesque, with a track, two baseball diamonds (baseball and softball), a tennis court, soccer field horseshoe pit, and huge open fields for running your dogs around. There’s even a little Nature Patch garden among the park itself, a lovely addition. There’s even a splash pad for splashing around! I don’t think that section in the south of the map is part of the park, and it looked like they might be building something there. There were Portland Community College buildings being built across the street, so who knows.

The whole neighborhood reeks of “There is a Catholic high school nearby,” which is so say: wealthy. But unlike other wealthy parts of Portland, this place felt a lot more “within our means” wealthy, if that makes sense. Narrower streets than Irvington, a little more salt of the earth-y rather than trust fund/stock trader-y, if you get my drift. Apparently the park used to be an old stripping parts spot for car thieves back in the day.

Aesthetics: Beautiful, open, very nice. 10/10

Function: Sports haven. Track! I wish Buckman Field’s track was like this track. Plus you can run your dog around and get a decent run around the park itself. I’m really not sure what else you would want. 10/10

Sketchiness: There were a couple of tent homes or maybe storage at the fringes of the park, but I didn’t see any sketchy behavior at all and this just doesn’t seem like the spot to engage in that kind of behavior. It’s close to Killingsworth, which can feel a little sketchy in parts, but honestly, I’d be surprised if stuff went down in this park. 10/10

(Also, I’m changing my Sketchiness rating so that lower sketchiness results in a higher score.)

Lovely park and lovely little 5k race! Check it out if you get the chance.