04 April 2024

The Back Stairs To Silver Creek


We return to Silverton to get to know Silver Creek a little better. It's changed and gotten incredibly charming, and deserves the tarry.

Along West Main Street, just the other side of the creek from the center of town and Water and Main, is a park, Town Square Park. Quite a lovely place and with it I'm rather smitten. It is roughly square in shape, fronting West Main between the end of the bridge and Fiske Street, with a small parking lot at the corner and a charming public toilet (Portland has its Loos, but leave it to Silverton to make a public convenience charming), and at the south side of the park, the pedestrian path winds past a war memorial to cross a covered footbridge over Silver Creek that'll connect you back to Water Street a block south of Main.

If you stand on the bridge ... which has ample room for those who want to take it slow and absorb the charm ... and look upstream, in the general southward direction, you see this, a property on Fiske Street backing up to the creek itself and this stairway from that property going right down to the creek bank which is all so adorable I say, without trace of irony, that I can't even here.

It has occurred to me that the owner of that property is quite the fortunate person. 

It, and the presence of Riverfront Park in Salem, speak of a quantum leap in how Valley communities relate to the streams that flow through them. In Salem, as I said earlier, downtown ended for most of us at Commercial Street, Front Street was a railway-laced nightmare for your car's chassis, and riverfront access for downtown Salem was the veriest of oxymoronic things to say. Silverton's relationship with Silver Creek was similar though not as brutal; an unbroken line of buildings along the west side of Water Street made the creek a thing you glanced in passing over the bridge.

No longer. Silver Creek is still screened from downtown Silverton by the buildings but there are more and more personal ways to get closer, and Town Square Park, a lovely thing, which allows one to come right down to the side of the stream that inspired Silverton's name. 


Ellen Cameron said...

I love your writing.

Samuel John Klein said...

High praise, coming from you.