Historical Records - A2004-002.3593   View of Washington Park from the SW Washington St e
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Stearns Canyon

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Historic Stearns Canyon
Original Entrance & Park Name

Established in the 1800s, Washington Park is one of Portland’s oldest parks. The Park’s name, size, and entrances are among its many attributes that have evolved over the years.

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The City bought the Park’s original 40 acres in 1871 from Amos King – a notable Portland developer – for $32,634. That’s the equivalent of about $642,476 today. It was a questionably high sum at the time given the area was heavily forested, hilly, and infested with cougars. Despite its relative distance from the central city of the time, City officials went on to

designate the land as “City Park.” 

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"This original entrance, in the northeastern corner of the Park, is now known as Stearns Canyon..." 

In 1912, the City changed the name from City Park to Washington Park to represent its main street entrance off of SW Washington Street, which is currently West Burnside Street. This original entrance, in the northeastern corner of the Park, is now known as Stearns Canyon and is used by pedestrians and bicyclists. It’s also home to the Loyal B. Stearns Memorial Fountain, which was placed in 1941 in honor of Loyal B. Stearns, a former Oregon judge.

 

Today, Washington Park covers some 410 acres and includes several cultural organizations, monuments, and other points-of-interest. Visitors will also find more than 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.

Learn more about the history of Washington Park here.

Discover

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Home to nearly 2,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world.  From education programs to on-the-ground conservation efforts, the zoo is working to save species regionally and worldwide. 

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Oregon Zoo

7-12 Building Out the System - Going Wes

In 1998, TriMet built the Washington Park MAX Station, which is the deepest transit station in North America at 260 feet below ground. It's also the only underground station in the entire MAX system.

Washington Park MAX Station

Mt Rainier and St Helens from Overlook 4

Founded in 1928 to conserve endangered species and educate the community, Hoyt Arboretum encompasses 190 ridge-top acres and 12 miles of hiking and biking trails just minutes from downtown Portland. 

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Hoyt Arboretum

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GPS

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GPS

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Explore & Connect

Explore 150 years of Washington Park, originally called City Park, and its many destinations by visiting the featured Discovery Points. Each location connects you to history, photos, and community members’ stories.

 

Most Discovery Points are accessible from Washington Park Free Shuttle designated stops. Use our real-time shuttle tracker.

 

Note: Parking fills quickly on sunny weekends. Avoid traffic and learn about our transit options.