every park in portland

EPIP: Ladd’s Circle (& Rose Gardens)

This is a continuing quest to visit and rate every park in Portland.

SE 16th Avenue and Harrison Street
Neighborhood: Hosford-Abernethy

In 1891, William Sargent Ladd decided to subdivide his east Portland 126-acre farm into the very unique and confusing diagonal streets we know as Ladd’s Addition. He then died two years later. Ladd’s is arguably the most unique and iconic street layout in Portland, right up there with that Lombard Street in San Francisco, or Bourbon Street in New Orleans. But those are just streets; Ladd’s Addition is a whole street structure. It’s a richer part of Portland, and in the center is Ladd’s Circle, which is just that, a circular park with some benches. There are also four rose gardens in the cardinal directions.

People often gather at Ladd’s Addition to start something else, like runs and stuff. I often run around Ladd’s Addition myself, because it’s level and interesting and a lovely part of town. It’s also fun to get lost in, and it’s one of the few bits in Portland with alleyways! I’d love to live there, if someone would just give me a million dollars to afford a house.

But this is a review of the circle! And the rose gardens, I guess.

Aesthetic: Roses are pretty, can’t lie about that. But the actual gardens aren’t, to me, very aesthetically pleasing. In fact they kind of stick out and are virtually unusable as the roses are packed in each diamond. The circle is more open and is a nice centerpiece to the street structure, but other than that it’s not especially gorgeous. 6/10

Function: The gardens grow roses. The end. The circle has some benches to sit on and contemplate life, but that’s about it. There’s some space to lay down for a picnic if you want. 4/10

Sketchiness: Ladd’s is pretty bougie so there’s not a lot of homeless wandering through. I do see a few pseudo-sketch people lying in the grass in the warmer months. (When I say “pseudo-sketch,” that falls into a territory where I’m unsure if the person is homeless, or just a grungy Portlander.) 8/10