Washington Park is one of the oldest parks in Portland.
Today, Washington Park has over 15 miles of trails, some of which are part of the 40-Mile Loop connecting Washington Park with Pittock Mansion, Forest Park to the north, and Council Crest to the south. Washington Park covers over 410 acres.
In 1871, the City purchased the original forty acres of land from Amos King, an early developer who bought over 500 acres of land west of the city, for $32,634. The City designated this land "City Park,” despite its relative distance from the central city of the time. The park had few roads and was a wilderness area thick with brush, trees, and roaming cougars that discouraged access and daily use of the park. With ample green space surrounding Portland, limited improvements to City Park were not made until the early 1880s.
In the mid-1880s, Charles M. Meyers was hired as the Park’s first keeper. A former seaman without landscape training, he transformed the park by drawing on memories of his native German and European parks. By 1900, there were roads, trails, and landscaped areas with lawns, manicured hedges, flower gardens, and a zoo. Cable cars were added in 1890 and operated until the 1930s.
About Explore Washington Park
Explore Washington Park’s mission is to provide a more accessible, inclusive, cohesive and enjoyable experience for all who visit Portland’s premier park.