This park is maintained with the volunteer assistance of Jane's Park group. To volunteer at your neighborhood park, call 503-823-5121.
The untiring efforts of Jane Baker, an East Portland neighborhood leader who died in April 2002, turned an overgrown vacant lot behind Midland Library into a park. She envisioned a park where residents from all over the area could visit with birds and butterflies, trees and plants; where people could sit on benches and read - or walk on paths among the trees; where local students could be involved in designing, planting, and maintaining a park; and where the books inside the library could be made more real for children - and adults - through connections with the park. Since the mid-County area was unincorporated at that time, Jane knew that whatever got done in the "park" would have to be done by volunteer effort. During the late 70s and early 80s, Jane organized volunteer clean-up crews to get rid of the brush and blackberry bushes which covered the lot. She secured a donation of sawdust to cover paths which were carved out by a National Guard crew. With another donation of more than a dozen, hand-made bird houses, and her personal contribution of plantings to stabilize the bank along the north side of the site, her park began to take shape.
Jane's plan involved using the park as a teaching tool for students in local schools. This living lab would allow students to learn how plants and animals lived together in a natural habitat in an urban setting. The proximity to the library was an added benefit in that people of all ages could learn about the natural world just outside its doors. Although Jane never saw the completion of the park, friends and neighbors formed Jane's Park Group to ensure that her vision was implemented. Today Midland Park is a fitting memorial to this dedicated volunteer.