Photo: Portland Parks & Recreation Department
Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio joined Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) Director Adena Long, PP&R staff, and members of the late Dick Fagan’s family for a fun and tiny ribbon-cutting at the newly relocated Mill Ends Park today.
The substantial completion of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Better Naito Forever project has resulted in a new and improved world’s smallest park, six inches west of the original site – complete with a cloverleaf-shaped park border, new vegetation, and new official park sign. Mill Ends became an official City of Portland park in 1976.
In an effort to keep to the quirky theme, a new tiny park bench, pitchfork, shovel, and cooking pot are also part of the Park. Also included is a tiny toy dinosaur, spurring Portland Park Rangers to look through City Code to see if the park had a designated dinosaur off-leash area (it doesn’t). The Fagan family brought a replica, original park sign for the photo opportunity, as well as a miniature Ferris wheel which they said an actual crane originally put in place from the Hawthorne Bridge somewhere between 1948 and 1952. Dick Fagan was a columnist for the Oregon Journal, credited as the inspiration for Mill Ends Park after gazing out his office window at a hole meant for a streetlight that never materialized. PP&R was delighted to present his daughter Carolyn, son Bill, and daughter-in-law Diane Fagan with the honor of cutting the ribbon at the newly rededicated park.
They used a tiny pair of scissors.
Mill Ends Park is once again located in the median strip of SW Naito Parkway (at SW Taylor Street) in downtown Portland. The park is about 2 feet across, with a total area of 452 square inches (0.00007205784 acres). It is the smallest park in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records, which first granted it this recognition in 1971. Mill Ends Park is an iconic Portland destination with its own weeding and watering schedule, under the purview of Portland Parks & Recreation’s downtown maintenance team. It became an official City park in 1976. It is open to all visitors and PP&R urges caution when visiting due to vehicle traffic on the adjacent Naito Pkwy.
“It’s just so iconic,” says Commissioner Rubio. “It’s really a testament to the quirkiness and the ingenuity of Portlanders such as Mr. Fagan. It’s a testament to the culture of our city that we’re preserving what is so quintessentially Portland.”
“Our park maintenance staff have identified the best vegetation to thrive in Mill Ends Park,” says PP&R Director Adena Long. “And thankfully, the new plantings are expected to offer an even better habitat for the leprechaun family rumored to live in the park.”