SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd and Stark Street
Nestled in arguably one of the most expensive residential areas of Portland, Laurelhurst Park is, to me, the closest thing we have to a Central Park. It’s a diverse park, gorgeous with lots of tree cover and winding pathways, and with a nice lake on the eastern side. An annex to the south has a playground and basketball court, but if you want a park where you can just stroll and enjoy the scenery, Laurelhurst is where it’s at.
You’ll notice on the upper left of the park there’s a big house. That’s a big house. You can read more about it here: The Bitar Mansion. It seems that there’s not much info about it post-2011. I’ve walked by that house many times, and I learned during its renovation that they cut down a bunch of old rhododendron bushes. Some guy told me that while I was walking by one day. He said that the (new?) owner was crazy. I dunno, folks.
Aesthetic: Beautiful park. Even the playground side of it is beautiful. Currently it does have some fencing up because of “fragile plants” (which I think is just a front to keep homeless away), which diminishes the beauty a bit. But in spring and summertime, this place is king. 9/10
Function: It’s more of a stroll/jogging park but the annex has stuff to do if you’re into that, but then you’re closer to busy streets and a gas station across the street. Literally function over form, I guess. 7/10
Sketchiness: I personally don’t think Laurelhurst is that sketchy at all, but I’m sure a lot of the NIMBYs who live in their expensive houses would disagree. Yes, homeless people live around the park, but I’ve found the park itself to be relatively sketch-free. YMMV. 3/10