SE 17th Avenue and Taylor Street
Colonel Summers is definitely one of the best parks in Portland. It’s in a great location, it’s got a multitude of things to do (basketball court, meeting space, swings for kids, splash zone, tennis court, baseball diamond though I think people usually play kickball there, and a community garden), and to me it always feels larger than it actually is. That little kitty-corner square of park in the top-right of the map always fascinated me too. When I first moved here I really had no idea where this park was, even though I had passed by it many times–eventually I realized that the brunt of the park was behind the tennis courts.
Pedalpalooza stops here frequently and there’s always something going on at the park in the spring and summer months. Now, it’s cold and most everyone is gone.
Aesthetic: It’s a lovely park, maybe a bit cramped in spots but the community garden adds an interesting twist on what might have been an otherwise normal park. Honestly, my only gripe is that I wish the houses in the NW section weren’t there, so we could have more park. (To be fair though, they’re on an uphill slope; the park is kind of constructed around the hill.) 8/10
Function: This place has lots to do in a smaller space. There’s plenty of activities in the warmer months and with basketball and tennis AND base/kickball, lots of places to do sports. 9/10
Sketchiness: The park itself can vary in sketchiness, but none of it is really drug deals or anything of that nature. It’s more just homeless people sleeping on the grass or in cars around the perimeter. But lots of people sleep on the grass so it’s not a big deal. There’s also a van on the 17th Ave side which has been parked there ever since I moved to this part of town. It has people sleeping in it but they don’t bother anyone. In fact in the summertime they set up a little station where you can wash your hands, which is neat. I’d say low-to-moderate sketchiness. 3/10