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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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The Board voted to pass a tax levy of .5 mill on each $1 of property. The Board decided, with the advice of the City Attorney, not to allow meetings and events that would require the erection of booths, tents or buildings in the parks. However, they approved a series of summer concerts for the Park Blocks, City Park, and Holladay Park, featuring a military band; the Board provided no funding for these events. They asked the Police Commission to provide one or two officers to patrol City Park on Sundays in the summer and to enforce the Park Board order that boys not play baseball or football in the Park Blocks.
Although they desired to purchase Hawthorne Park (no longer existing) located between SE Taylor & Hawthorne Blvd and SE 9th & 12th Avenues, the Board was forced to merely lease the property from the Hawthorne Estate for $100 per month provided they would keep the sidewalks clean, gravel the walks, and employ a watchman to keep undesirables out of the park.
Thomas Eliot presented a report on the parks of various eastern cities, most notably those of Boston, and on his meeting with Olmsted Brothers, Landscape Architects. The Board voted to have Eliot's report printed in the daily newspapers. After the accidental death of Park Superintendent C. M. Myers on December 21, the Board gave $100 to the widow for funeral expenses and acted as honorary pallbearers.
The Board resolved to levy a tax of .25 mill on each $1 of taxable property and appointed Mr. Herman Lowitz as the new park superintendent. The Board also authorized a maximum of $1,000 to hire a landscape architect to analyze Portland's park potential and prepare a report. They hired a watchman for Macleay Park to prevent vandalism, especially the shooting of birds, and a special police officer to patrol the parks and remove "all persons who loaf . . . or sleep there, or occupy unseemly positions." Despite earlier decisions against allowing tents to be erected in the parks, the Board approved the City Commissioners' request to erect a tent in the Plaza Blocks for an election booth for one day. In similar cases, they opted not to allow a candy peddler to sell candy in the parks and denied a request to build and operate a miniature railway in City Park.
Peninsular Park was cleared out and its name was changed to Columbia Park. Citizens of the area requested a baseball ground on the cleared area, and the Board allowed a temporary ground only in the area of the park cut off by the car line. Workers completed the system of diagonal walks in the Park Blocks as well as a trail from Macleay Park to City Park. The Board accepted several gifts, including some land from Governor Pennoyer. They also agreed to cooperate with the directors of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Fair, hoping that any land used for the Fair would be improved and used as park space in the future.
In January, the Board created a Constitution which allowed women to serve on the board, charged the mayor with appointing members (2 on a 2-year term and 2 on a 4-year term), created a Park Fund for donations, and required Board permission for the display of any artwork in the parks. Mayor Williams appointed Rev. Eliot and J.D. Meyer for 2-year terms and Col. Hawkins and Ion Lewis for 4-year terms. All employees except the park superintendent would now be hired under Civil Service rules.
The Board approved the purchase of 1,000 rose bushes, provided $1,000 for the summer concerts, acquired uniforms for the park policemen, renewed the lease on Hawthorne Park, hired the landscape architecture firm of Olmsted Brothers, from Brookline, MA, to visit and prepare a report (John Charles Olmsted, the nephew and adopted son of Frederick Law Olmsted, spent the month of May in Portland), and installed a new fountain in Holladay Park. They resolved that the Board would have complete control over all grounds of public buildings, parks, and plazas, including sidewalks and all trees. No trees could be removed without the Board's permission.
The Lombard, Ladd, and Pittock families donated 30 acres of land in its wild state asking only that it be called Fulton Park. Proposals for donations of several monuments came before the Board. For the Plaza Blocks, a monument to soldiers of the Second Oregon U.S. Volunteer Infantry (part of the first group of American soldiers sent overseas to fight in the Spanish-American War) and $20,000 for a monumental fountain were offered. The heirs of David P. Thompson donated a bronze monument entitled The Coming of the White Man by H.A. McNeil to be placed in City Park. The Lewis & Clark Centennial and American Pacific Exposition & Oriental Fair proposed to erect a monument in City Park, featuring four tablets representing Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and Washington, to be unveiled in 1905 in the presence of the Governors of the four states as well as the President of the United States. The cornerstone of the monument was laid by President Theodore Roosevelt on May 21, 1903. The Park Board accepted all donations.
The Olmsted Report was received in December and made several suggestions for the best way to develop a park system in Portland. The report emphasized the importance of a comprehensive and balanced system of individualized parks connected by parkways which would take advantage of natural scenery - all of which should be improved by specially trained men regularly and according to a General Plan. The system should be managed independently of the City Council so it would meet public rather than political needs. Additionally, the report maintained that the parks should be governed by a board of unpaid and qualified officials. It was recommended that the Board hire Emanuel Tillman Mische, a long-time employee of Olmsted Brothers, to supervise the implementation of their plan and to act as the new park superintendent.
The Olmsted Report also outlined several different park and parkway developments, such as a formal square for Union Station, a number of waterfront squares, and parks which we now call Forest Park, Sellwood Park, Mt Tabor Park, Rocky Butte Natural Area, and Ross and Swan Islands, as well as a systems of parkways to connect parks around the city, such as Terwilliger Parkway and the 40-Mile Loop. Many of the recommendations for specific parks were never achieved; others, such as Forest Park, were only begun many years later.
In August, the Board received a complaint that women felt unable to use the Plaza Blocks because men bothered women who came to the park. Citizens requested that the Board designate one of the Plaza Blocks for use by women, children, and their escorts only; the Board approved the request and set aside the South Plaza Block for this purpose. The Second Oregon Volunteers Memorial located in the center of the North Plaza Block was completed and featured a soldier charging with a bayonet.
The Coming of the White Man, erected in City Park in October, consisted of two bronze Native Americans "of heroic size" presumably at the time Lewis and Clark reached the Columbia River. At the presentation ceremony, the mayor said of the statue, "The historic significance of this group is the white man's invasion of the wilderness, home of the Indians. This monument will probably stand here when the race of people whom it represents has become extinct, and will then describe . . . better than any book the form, features, and chief characteristics of the original inhabitants of this country."
The Park Board received several petitions and letters of concern and complaint throughout the year regarding children playing in the parks, most specifically in the Park Blocks. Detractors objected mostly to the playing of baseball - errant balls made conditions unsafe for passersby and for nearby residents who wished to sit on their porches. Petitioners also complained that children playing in the parks were noisy, ruined the grass, and used obscene or vulgar language. Yet other adults asserted that the children needed a place to play that was not only safe, but wholesome. A large group of boys even submitted a petition requesting to use one of the North Park Blocks for playing baseball, promising to "allow no boy or boys using the grounds with us to indulge in profane or obscene language; neither will we tolerate quarreling, bullying, fighting or other indecent conduct." The Board was unconvinced and ordered the Blocks in question to be improved with diagonal walks, making ball-playing practically impossible.
In May, Lafe Pence, who owned land near Macleay Park, proposed to build a flume through the park to divert water from Balch Creek to fill Guild Lake and, in the process, wash down land between Macleay Park and Willamette Heights in preparation for developing residential and industrial sites in the area. After receiving many protests and petitions against the flume at their regular June meeting, the Board called a special meeting to discuss the matter. All arguments were weighed, and the Board voted to deny permission to build the flume. Pence built a 4-foot-wide flume through the park anyway, but it was not brought to the Board's attention until Pence augmented his plan by clearing 900 feet of land without permission for an additional flume on land owned by the Ibex Land Company, of which Board member Col. Lester Leander "L.L." Hawkins was part owner.
Col. Hawkins alerted the Board to Pence's flume in February, and a special meeting was held, resulting in the demolition of a large section of the flume by a group of policemen with sledgehammers under the direction of Mayor Lane on February 25. Pence petitioned the Park Board the next day to allow him to continue his operations, claiming his plan would benefit Portland. The Board approved it (Hawkins dissenting) under Park Board supervision for one year only as long as it would not destroy property or divert water between May and October. Despite a report that the water in Hawthorne Park was diseased, the Board began to consider purchasing the land and, by November, was drafting an amendment to put before the voters to purchase Hawthorne Park. In December, a city health officer recommended the park be closed because people had contracted typhoid fever from the springs there.
A committee was assigned to investigate building playgrounds in the parks, and their report was approved in July. The plan was to build playgrounds in the North Park Blocks between Davis & Flanders Streets and to build a baseball ground in the Beech Street Park Block. In December, the playgrounds were completed. One area for girls and small children contained sandboxes, swings, and seesaws; the area designated for boys featured parallel bars, horizontal bars, a climbing rope, and more. Almost immediately, it was deemed necessary to construct a fence around the boys' playground to keep away men who were found setting up boxing matches and betting and having a generally "pernicious influence."
In August, the Park Board fired Superintendent Lowitz for lying about the amount and quality of work accomplished as well as for swearing at board member Ion Lewis. The following month, the Board appointed as the new superintendent Arthur Monteith, whose first recommendation was to prohibit smoking during work except at the lunch hour. His first official report, submitted in December, contained a variety of suggestions: a shelter and telephone for the caretaker in Macleay Park, a separate zoo fund, salary increases, more laborers, and more stringent rules for the use of the parks, especially a prohibition on firearms.
At the end of the year, the Board submitted its proposal for a bond measure of between $500,000 and $1,000,000 for the purchase of park property. This was the first attempt to acquire funds for the implementation of the Olmsted Plan.
A January ice storm created significant damage in the parks, which required a near doubling of the park work force. In April, the Board appointed M. W. Gorman as custodian of the Forestry Building. In May, the Park Board finally gave up the use of Hawthorne Park and gave in to the demand to set aside a block in the North Park Blocks for a baseball field. The playgrounds in the North Park Blocks were officially opened in May with a children's festival. For three months during the summer, a paid supervisor would run playground activities, including basket weaving courses and a baseball league, under the auspices of the People's Institute Club. The Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce was granted permission to hold a Rose Show in the Forestry Building, but The Oregonian's request to plant roses in the Park Blocks was denied. The Queens Walk, comprised of bronze markers signed by each Rose Festival queen, was constructed in the Rose Garden.
In August, the Board admonished Superintendent Monteith, after a long string of events leading up to an official inquiry, for "using City teams for hauling outside material; for using so much time of City employees' in keeping his own residence; and for keeping so many people in the residence." The home was a perquisite that came with the job, however, the Board discovered they must set limits to its use.
The Board decided to use the Olmsted Plan to decide upon expansion allowed by the passage of Initiative One Hundred. The development would be separated into three main parts: 1) a boulevard encircling the city; 2) several larger outlying parks; and 3) a system of smaller internal park squares and neighborhood parks. The Olmsted Brothers firm was invited to provide an update of its original report. The new report arrived in December and noted that land had nearly doubled in price. It also stressed that the most important purchase to be made was the land west of City Park, the area now known as Forest Park, yet that property would not be acquired until 1948.
In April, Emanuel Tillman Mische from Madison, Wisconsin officially replaced Arthur Monteith as Superintendent of Parks. Mische had worked for the Olmsted Brothers firm for many years; he was recommended to the Board originally to help oversee the implementation of their 1903 Plan. Although he held the position of superintendent only until 1914, he would eventually be considered one of the most influential leaders in the history of Portland Parks & Recreation, partially because of his excellent abilities as a landscape architect.
The Board had voted in January to sell $500,000 worth of bonds approved by Initiative One Hundred to extend the park system and purchase lands. The Board and the City Attorney spent much of the year trying to figure out how the Board could legally purchase lands, deciding finally that they could only acquire land by asking the city council to start condemnation or purchase proceedings. By October, they were looking at the area that is now Sellwood Park as their first major purchase. The issue of naming came up, and the Board approved Superintendent Mische's suggestion to use numbers until proper naming could be decided on: "This would tend to prevent coming into common use names which are crude, uncouth, or corrupt and often repugnant and even suggestive of horror."
The zoo buildings were removed to a group along the western end of City Park. In Macleay Park, a police officer/keeper was hired to guide women and children through the park and to keep an eye out for mischief-makers. The keeper confiscated two revolvers in May. A private association had been operating the public baths in the Willamette River for six years and turned them over to the Park Board in 1908. Unfortunately, they were deemed unsafe because they were located near a sewer opening. The Board debated about where to move them and whether it was financially feasible to maintain the baths. The following year, they decided the baths would need to be sold and new ones built. The debate over who controlled street trees, which would last years, began this year. The Park Board officially had control over plantings on sidewalks throughout the city although the City Council had the power to prevent or abate obstructions. The City engineer and electrician also had some control over street trees. The Park Board struggled for years trying to gain complete control over the planting, maintenance, and removal of street trees since they were considered an enormous contribution to creating a beautiful Portland, one of the Park Board's main goals.
In February, certain name changes were adopted, including the Plaza Blocks renamed as Lownsdale and Chapman Squares. An article in The Oregonian in March, which indicted zoos as inhumane, set off a flurry of letters to the Park Board demanding the zoo be shut down. The Wildwood Trail began its life in September when Superintendent Mische was assigned the task of finding a suitable path between Macleay Park and the Forestry Building. The heirs of James Terwilliger donated 19.24 acres of land as a right-of-way through their property to aid in the development of the main parkway suggested by the Olmsted Plan. Once called South Hillside Parkway, it is now known as Terwilliger Parkway. City Park was renamed Washington Park.
In its 1909 annual report, the Park Board encouraged people to donate land for parks, claiming it would increase land value and was therefore profitable to landowners. They had spent half of the funds from Initiative One Hundred's $1,000,000 bond to purchase Sellwood, Kenilworth, Peninsula, Ladd (now known as Laurelhurst), and parts of Mt Tabor Parks, about 200 acres total. When they were unable to conclude sales, the City Council would initiate condemnation proceedings to determine a fair price for the land, usually not too far off of the negotiated prices. Assorted neighborhood associations began sending in requests for parks to be built in their neighborhoods. But, before buying more parkland, the Board planned to focus on the construction and development of current parks and parkways, and to extend existing playgrounds as well as develop new ones. Portland's first public playground at NW 6th & Hoyt, organized by the People's Institute in 1906 and under the direction of Bertha Davis, was turned over to the Park Board in 1909.
New playgrounds were constructed at City, Sellwood, Peninsula, and Columbia Parks, one was underway in Brooklyn Park, and those in the North Park Blocks were updated with new equipment. Playgrounds were still segregated by gender. The playgrounds would be supervised during school vacations mostly by male physical education specialists under the direction of George Cellars (P.E. director of the YMCA) and a committee of four women: Valentine Pritchard, Mrs. H.L. Corbett, Mary Failing, and Mrs. W.B. Ayer. A new swimming tank was built in Sellwood for approximately $7,500 to replace the unhygienic public baths in the Willamette River. There was no charge to use the pool and one swimming instructor was hired for the first summer. E.F. Lawrence, a prominent Oregon architect and dean of the University of Oregon School of Architecture, was hired to design an assembly building for Sellwood Park and its pool as well as some comfort stations for Columbia Park.
Mrs. Laura Gammans and Dr. Thomas Eliot donated land between N. Burrage and Wilbur & Buffalo Streets for Gammans Park. The City purchased 2.84 acres for the Terwilliger Parkway and work began on grading the portion between Slavin and Hamilton Roads. There were a number of complaints about animal noise from the zoo, but Superintendent Mische reported that it was not financially feasible to move the zoo any time soon. The path in Macleay Park was widened and extended to Cornell Road, resulting in complaints of too many felled trees and the destruction of the natural look of the park.
Public opinion expressed through letters or petitions largely influenced the actions taken by the Park Board in these early years. One good example from 1910 is their response to a letter from a woman who signed herself simply, "A Working Girl." She requested, like the women in 1904, that two Park Blocks be set aside for women only. She claimed that men greedily occupied all the benches in the parks so that working women had nowhere to sit on their lunch breaks or in the evenings when they got off work and wanted to relax in the park. The Board immediately granted her request.
This year brought several changes for park employees and the Board. Workers were finally able to make disability claims for injuries received on the job. Each property was assigned a foreman directly responsible to the public. The Board hired 26 playground instructors, more than double the amount hired in 1910.
All Board members attended a lecture given by the field secretary for the American Playground Association, and then decided to create a committee to plan "a more satisfactory system of playgrounds" in conjunction with the Board of Education. This would mark the first major interaction between the schools and the Park Board. Playgrounds and recreation were becoming a key issue in the U.S.; they were considered conducive to health, education, and morality.
The Board received a petition from the Riverside Driving Club requesting a speedway and stadium with a track for horses and an athletic ground. A letter from the Women's Club suggested a recreation center in Peninsula Park, claiming it would lessen the need for jails and reformatories. Plans for a new swimming tank and assembly hall in Peninsula Park were already underway. Meanwhile, the Portland Rose Festival Association wanted Peninsula Park set aside as a rose garden. All of these plans eventually came to fruition.
Lafe Pence's flume was finally removed from Macleay Park. An ongoing problem with baseballs hitting passers-by in the North Park Blocks required the Board to have the backstop removed. More than half the playground instructors hired this year were women, and the Board decided that new instructors required some sort of training. The Board assumed responsibility for the maintenance of the 20 newly installed Benson fountains. Portland's first rose garden, the sunken garden designed by Superintendent Mische, opened at Peninsula Park, and the squares in Ladd's Circle were planted with roses. The Board expressed a desire for an arboretum, similar to the Arnold Arboretum near Boston, claiming it would benefit citizens, science, and Portland's reputation. The name of Ladd Park was changed to Laurelhurst Park, and Williams Park to Mt Tabor Park.
In May, the Park Board issued a set of sixteen rules and regulations for the use of parks, parkways, and driveways, most regarding destruction of property and where to drive vehicles or animals. Conduct was also a consideration, however, as Rule 4 states, "No person shall solicit the acquaintance of or annoy another person, or utter profane, threatening, abusive or indecent language or loud outcry . . . or preach, or pray aloud, or make an oration or harangue, or any political or other canvass . . . or play any musical instrument except by written authority from said Park Board."
A $2,000,000 bond measure was defeated, which was due, Superintendent Mische reported, to a lack of information since there had been no annual report issued since 1907. He suggested the Board put out an extensive report covering the years 1908-1912, complete with photographs and charts and information detailing the importance of parks. The report the Board decided to publish is both thorough and political. A long essay at the end details plans and possibilities for the future of Portland parks, including comparative maps and charts to show Portland lagging far behind other U.S. cities in park acreage per person. Another focus was the existence of parks as an inducement to morality and thus an aid to crime prevention. Money spent on parks would eventually be less than money spent on police, jails, the judiciary, and other costs involved in handling criminals.
In May, the Park Board sent a letter to all the local pastors requesting they mention the importance of parks in their sermons and to recommend that their congregations vote in June for the parks bond measure. Despite such efforts, the measure failed.
Work continued in the various parks, specifically on the drives in Mt Tabor Park and on comfort stations around the city. The Board created rules and regulations for the use of the new comfort stations, including no spitting, urinating or blowing mucus on the floors. Attendants were assigned the duties of keeping the stations clean and wiping the seats with germicide (the pay toilets were cleaned four times more often than the free ones). The Peninsula Park Recreation Building was completed in July and was open year-round with three instructors and two gyms (one for each gender). The School Board conducted the training program for playground instructors, and by October 1, three instructors were assigned to conduct activities at six schools: Failing, Mt Tabor, Ockley Green, Peninsula, Creston, and Richmond.
Just a few weeks after the completion of the Peninsula Park Recreation Building, the Park Board was dissolved when the City of Portland changed to a commission form of government. Work continued as usual with Superintendent Mische in charge of the Bureau of Parks and Public Recreation, but he now reported to an elected Commissioner (initially the Commissioner of Public Works, William L. Brewster) rather than an appointed Board. Mische complained in the annual report that the new form of government, slow in taking shape, lacked a general plan and a harmonious body governing that plan, spelling failure for the Bureau. Yet, work progressed, and plans continued to be made.
In December, the Reverend George Schooner began writing letters to city officials in an attempt to create a Botanical Rose Garden in Portland. He first asked for 200 acres, but quickly acknowledged that 10 acres would do to start. In Reverend Schooner's reformist opinion, not only was the rose important for perfumes, landscaping, art, and decor, it also offered remarkable heretofore unrecognized benefits: "Learn [sic] children to love flowers, they will learn to know God in His secrets and mysteries of nature. We will have less socialists, less anarchists, less hobos, less criminals. We will have loving people with a working spirit. This is the mission of the rose for the social uplift for all that is good and beautiful."
An effort to plant more street trees to beautify the city in the vein of Paris' tree-lined boulevards began with three miles of street trees planted in 1913 in the Peninsula neighborhood and continued throughout 1914. Mische's plan divided the city into three sections: the northeast would be planted with North American trees, the southeast would feature trees of European origin, and the west would be filled with Asian trees. Each section would then be "subdivided into districts wherein all the suitable representatives of a particular genus is to be planted" covering 850 to 900 miles of city streets. In addition, Professor C.S. Sargent, a noted botanist at Harvard's Arnold Arboretum, donated approximately 200 new plants from Asia as well as new species of rhododendrons, roses, and evergreens.
In April, the Bureau started a fruiticetum in Mt Tabor Park, hoping eventually for a full representation of Northwest shrubs and trees. Laurelhurst Park was completed. The official dedication of Terwilliger Parkway was celebrated on August 4 by people driving along the scenic, electrically lighted, 4-mile, unpaved road in their automobiles. The Bureau had spent $300,000 to complete the parkway.
Superintendent Mische made a month-long tour of various cities in the United States and Canada in August to evaluate their park systems and learn about new techniques, equipment, rules, and botanical features. He longed for a more efficient and up-to-date park system. Another concern for Mische was the Forestry Building. Constructed mostly of Douglas fir in 1904 and 1905, and housing specimens of almost all 94 varieties of Northwest trees, it had begun to decay. Unfortunately, limited information and resources were available to help restore it. This was Mische's last year as superintendent; he was succeeded by James O. Conville.
One of the old Lewis & Clark Centennial buildings near the Forestry Building was destroyed by fire. Luckily, the Forestry Building was saved. The owners of nearby buildings tore them down and donated the 18 acres of land to the Bureau; immediate plans were made for a park and playground to be constructed near the Forestry Building. An elm leaf beetle infestation hit the eastside. Tennis courts built in Kenilworth Park proved to be very popular. Laurelhurst Park's walks were paved and lit, and a concert in the park attracted 32,000 people, the largest crowd ever gathered for such an event in Portland.
The Bureau finally developed plans to renovate or rebuild the zoo, but it would cost $12,000. Simon Benson donated Benson Park, 400 acres in the Columbia River Gorge featuring two waterfalls and 3/4 mile of river beach, but the Bureau had no money to develop it properly. The annual report pointed out, "Three times the City of Portland has been asked for greater funds for park purposes, and three times bond issues have been refused." Progress in development according to the revised Olmsted Plan had been stalled for several years because of this failure to raise money after the passage of Initiative One Hundred in 1907. In response, the new Superintendent recommended a bill for a millage tax for park purposes because it seemed to serve the great neighborhood-based demand for parks, especially playground parks.
Park employees helped clean up the city streets after heavy snowstorms the last week of January. The budget for 1916 was incredibly tight and supported maintenance only. A severe increase in unemployment, however, brought the extra funds to hire men to pave Mt Tabor Park's roadways as well as a new stretch in Washington Park, and to dig a lake in Laurelhurst Park. Playgrounds at schools were discontinued because they lacked restrooms and drinking fountains and early summer rains shortened the playground season. Very cold summer weather also lowered attendance at the swimming pools. Four costly sprayings were necessary to rid Portland's 20,000 elm trees of the elm leaf beetle. The summer concert program continued featuring the Municipal Band and drew a total of 58,600 spectators for 31 concerts. The Ladd Estate donated a tract of land in Eastmoreland for the establishment of a golf course.
Charles Paul Keyser, perhaps the most well-known superintendent in Portland Parks & Recreation's history, officially took over the position in 1917. The public voted for an annual tax for the purchase and construction of playground parks. People expressed more interest in "systemized play for all ages and classes" than in extending parks or boulevards. The Bureau responded. Community House work was extended to include school gyms for night-time use, Sellwood YMCA was converted into Sellwood Community Center, and new tennis courts were constructed in Peninsula and Washington Parks. An 18-hole golf course designed by H. Chandler Egan was begun in Eastmoreland on 151 acres.
Much debate surrounded the paving of Terwilliger Parkway as it had begun to deteriorate. It had become a popular route, and those who wished to open it to commercial traffic expressed particularly strong desires to have it paved. Local landowners, whose property the road passed through, threatened to reclaim their rights-of-way if it were not paved because they had donated the land with the intent that it be used to create a road to benefit the public. Although the City claimed to not have the money to resurface the road, with all the uproar, they managed to pave the road within a year.
This year also saw the establishment of the International Rose Test Garden, "national and international in its scope, for the scientific testing outdoors of new roses and the cultivation and development in the open of existing varieties." The annual show organized by the Portland Rose Festival Association celebrated the opening of the new garden, and although exhibitors were scarce due to the war, excitement was high.
Progress on the Eastmoreland Golf Links was hampered by the war. To address the new popularity of automobile travel, the Parks Bureau established an auto campground near the Forestry Building at NW 28th & Vaughan, featuring comfort stations and wood camp stoves. Acting Mayor Bigelow decided to loan the South Park Block between Madison and Jefferson for Saturday night entertainments for soldiers during the summer. Several complaints of people stealing park flowers and of groups of young men gathering and singing loudly in the parks after 10:00 PM spurred the Bureau to request a special police detail to patrol the parks. Because of the war economy, several zoo animals, particularly bear, elk, and buffalo, were sold. In addition, the zoo tender position was eliminated, and the City Park foreman now had charge of the zoo. A rat infestation at the zoo was solved by means of a virus that killed the rats and somehow made them leave the vicinity before they died.
Play began at Eastmoreland Golf Links. Representatives from the Multnomah Athletic Club, Waverly Country Club, Portland Golf Club, and Tualatin Golf Club established the course and ran it in trust until the City could gain title to the property. Two bond issues passed in the June election: $500,000 for land acquisition, and $527,000 for improvements. Eight sites were proposed, but the Bureau faced many delays in purchasing these sites mainly because landowners were asking prices much higher than the assessed value of the land. In the case of the Belmont land (now part of Colonel Summers Park) the asking price was twice the assessed value. Other properties were more easily obtained and at fairly good prices thanks to the war.
The Bureau finally purchased the Buckman tract at a fair price, but the City Council had to initiate condemnation proceedings against the owner of the Belmont tract before they could purchase it at a rate close to its assessed value. The Goldsmith tract, 200x455 feet (now part of Wallace Park), was also purchased this year. The City had to abandon its auto campground because it did not own the land. In the summer, the Walnut Park and Piedmont districts experienced an alarming earwig infestation. The Bureau's resources were dried up in the continuing battle against the elm leaf beetle. Superintendent Keyser received vials of a deadly (to rats) virus from Pasteur Laboratories in France to deal with the rat infestation at the incinerator; it was the same method used to kill the rats at the zoo in 1918.