Category Archives: Parks

St. Johns Bridge and Cathedral Park

I took advantage of the sunny weather last week and visited the St. Johns Bridge.  Because I walked across the bridge on my previous visit, I chose to explored below this time.  Under the bridge on the east side of the Willamette is Cathedral Park.  It’s one of my favorite green spaces in the city because of how beautifully the bridge dominates the landscape.  Walk under the bridge’s span and you will see that the lancet-shaped arches line up all the way across the river (it’s how park got the name “Cathedral”?).


Check out my previous St. Johns post here

St. Johns BridgeSt. Johns Bridge sketchSt. Johns BridgeSt. Johns BridgeSt. Johns BridgeSt. Johns BridgeSt. Johns BridgeSt. Johns BridgeSt. Johns Bridge

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Rocky Butte and Joseph Hill Park

I drove up to Rocky Butte this weekend to walk around Joseph Wood Hill Park. Rocky Butte is a 612′ tall extinct volcanic cinder cone, which is part of the Boring Lava Field. In the last ice age, it parted the massive flood waters as Glacial Lake Missoula spilled into the Willamette Valley. Today, it parts the freeways that enter Portland.

I’ve been coming here all my life and have always had an affection for the strange, wonderful, and seemingly useless stone structure at the top. Built in 1937-39, it features an aircraft beacon and panoramic views of the city.  On this visit, Portland was very hazy so I plan on returning soon to snap some better pans of the city and the mountains.

Here are my pictures and some diagrams I made:

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Laurelhurst Park

This week I’m posting some pictures of my neighborhood park, Laurelhurst!  The park was built in 1912, around the time the Laurelhurst neighborhood was developed. It occupies 26.8 acres and features a beautiful pond (which is actually called Firewood Lake, everyone calls it a pond though).  I grew up just north of the park and have been lucky enough to ice skate on the pond once (a rare treat).


Here are the frozen pond pictures from 1989. It was my first time ice skating…

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Portland Japanese Garden

A few weekends ago I had the chance to visit the Japanese Garden with friends. I hadn’t visited since elementary school and I was happy to see that it was every bit as beautiful and impressive as I remember. Even with the weekend crowd, there were many chances to be alone and enjoy the scenery. Here are some sights and sketches:

Strolling PondHeavenly FallsThe Sand and Stone Garden

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Mt. Tabor and Snow

I went for a hike in Mt Tabor today and was happy to see some snow on the ground! It wasn’t sticking in the lower elevations today, but that could change overnight. I didn’t have a sketchbook with me, so I’ll just post a few photos I took…

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Mt Tabor

One post will not be enough to document my favorite park in Portland. Although it’s located in Southeast Portland, Mt Tabor is almost the geographic center of the city. It also has the badass quality of being a dormant volcano.  Side note: Portland is one of only two cities in the US to have a volcano within city limits (the other is Bend in central Oregon).

This is a great place for hiking /jogging/walking.  There are trails with elevation variation as well as flat paths. Many of the paved surfaces are even off limits to cars. On Wednesdays no cars are allowed at all. Don’t be fooled though, on Wednesdays Mt Tabor is not the peaceful car-free paradise you might expect.  The City of Portland trucks are zooming up and down the roads doing maintenance work throughout the park.

Here’s a map I drew and some photos.  I’ll post sketches soon.

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