05 June 2014

[#pdx] Photos On Sunday: East Holladay and Earl Boyles Parks

Parks here in Outer East Portlandia seem a little few and far between. In a city famed for its green spaces and park system, it's proving to be a bit of a struggle to solve. Perhaps it's because someone hasn't yet figured out how a developer can make a ton of money off it, I don't know. Who knows.

The neighborhood trees
muscle up to East Holladay Park
Shutting off the cynicism for a moment, part of it is, you just have to know where to look. West of 82nd Avenue, the parks are brazen hussies; they just throw themselves at you, shamelessly; get out of your car, park it, bub, and enjoy me!!! They're the only part of the empire of Portlandia that isn't some sort of passive-aggressive. There are awesome parks on the Heavy Eastside, they're like gold or water; they're where you find them. This turns the hunt into about equal parts aggravation and treasure quest.

Rose hips, East Holladay Park
This first park, you'll see what I mean. It's called East Holladay Park, and despite its geographically-specific name, it's not just down the road from Holladay Park, near the Lloyd Center, unless, for you, just down the road means a seven-mile trip out the Banfield Freeway and NE Halsey Street. But then, there are some fitness freaks here in Portland …

Oh, me. Anyway. to get to East Holladay Park, you do indeed go out NE Halsey Street into the veldtlands to deep East Portland. Go east on Halsey to NE 128th Avenue, and south on 128th to NE Holladay Street. About 420 feet, give or take, east from 128th, Holladay Street bends and becomes Holladay Court, and that's where the park's entry is. What makes East Holladay hard to locate is that this is its only obvious entry, otherwise it's surrounded by homes on 2 long sides and a PGE substation on the third. Other streets dead-end at the park's edge and provide local entry that way; the only public parking area is the one where NE Holladay St becomes NE Holladay Ct at the 13000 block.

The parking lot (a dated version of which  can be seen in Google Maps Satellite view) is both visually pleasing to look at and a version of the green ways of doing things we try to put into operation here in Portland wherever we can. Instead of a sheet of asphalt, square pavers form a surface smooth enough to drive or walk across while the seams between open into the soil, alleviating the problems inherent in water sheeting across a normal parking lot and simply sloughing off onto the streets and soil surrounding it, taking advantage of the ability of the ground and the vegetation to filter out the nasty bits in the same way that our unfairly-lambasted bioswales do

It's also visually charming, making one feel as though one is walking across a cobbled courtyard. Rather sophisticated, actually.

The area of the park is wide open. This was actually a bit disappointing as we were hoping for a place to spread out with art supplies and diary and play, but there's no picnic tables there. Truth be told, the space is a bit bland, but I can't hold a grudge against all that luminous green. There is a spiffy new, bright, pretty, fun-looking play area, so the area is undoubtedly getting real-world likes from every neighborhood kid.

Fun time at the park: enabled.
The other one is Earl Boyles Park. I suppose we missed it all this time because there's no obvious signs leading to it, and it's similarly ensconced in the neighborhood near SE 112th Avenue between Powell and Holgate the way East Holladay is in its nabe. The best access we were able to find is SE Center Street going east from SE 104th Avenue. On the south, east, and west it's surrounded by houses and trees; there is an access on SE Boise Street. North side of the park is bounded by the properties of Ron Russell Middle School and Earl Boyles Elementary, on SE Bush Street west of 112th Avenue, and while there's ready access from Bush Street the space between the north bound of the park and the street is taken up by Ron Russell's sports field, so the park's presence is perhaps not so obvious from there.

By the time we'd gotten to Earl Boyles Park, the sun was beginning to get rather low in the sky, and the long rays were being played about with by the foliage, leaving the grass and tree boughs even more luminous than the park before. There's a water feature which can be activated somehow, and the kids were playing in it … a high, proud fountain. We were delighted by this. We've seen quite a few Portland parks in which the water feature was either deactivated or a thing of the past.

I feel rather abashed. This is the park we've been looking for; pleasant access, a nice grove of trees, a fountain pad for the warm bodies that summer in Oregon naturally obtains. A place with tables to sit and take in the world, and to watch the sun linger on the horizon, like it tends to do hereabouts.

Earl Boyles Park. Sunset. 2nd of June, 2014.
And we just kind of stumbled on it. Well, the best things, you usually find them that way. Serendipity, they call it. Just what you were looking for … but not when you were looking for it.

That's why life is mysterious, in the good way. 

No comments: