every park in portland

EPIP: Laurelhurst Park

SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd and Stark Street
Neighborhood: Laurelhurst

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

every park in portland

EPIP: Buckman Field Park

NE 12th Avenue and Everett Street
Neighborhood: Kerns

Buckman Field is one of those parks that you’ll miss if you don’t live nearby. For instance: I have walked on NE 12th Ave (the road on the far left of the map) a ridiculous number of times. When I used to work at a medical marijuana clinic, I would have take my check up to the Wells Fargo near Lloyd’s Center. Every time I would pass by two things: the Franz bakery building, which always smelled amazing, and those tennis courts you see in the upper left. I didn’t even realize they were part of a park. (They might not be, either.)

This morning, in searching for parks to walk to, I noticed the track and the soccer fields of Buckman Field and decided to head there. It is what you see: a track, two fields (with the upper one being a soccer and football field), and the upper right part of the field can be a baseball diamond as well. So, it’s far more of an amateur and professional activity park than it is a “take your kids and dog” park. I did see people practicing soccer and there were dogs hanging out on the sidelines though, so who knows.

The lower right section has some playground equipment, though, but it, as you can see, is a small portion. This is also one of those parks that doesn’t have an open entrance; by that I mean, you have to enter through a couple of narrow sidewalks, you can’t just walk straight into the park. Makes it feel more seeecret.

Aesthetic: Not much to look at. It’s fields. 3/10

Function: You can play soccer and then eat donuts at Voodoo! 9/10

Sketchiness: Didn’t seem sketchy at all. The surrounding area is a little sketch, more rundown than illicit activities though. For some reason, Sandy Blvd is just one of those more run down streets overall. 3/10