Portland’s Tanner Springs Park:
Peace in the Pearl District

Tanner Springs is a strikingly calm place in a very busy setting.
Tanner Springs is a strikingly calm place in a very busy setting.

Water trickling. Kids giggling. Flowers blooming. Tall grass swaying in the breeze. A duck paddling on a pond.

Where are we? The corner of NW 11th and Marshall, in Tanner Springs Park.

One wouldn’t normally associate “Pearl District” with “peaceful,” but over here at the north end we’re kind of on the edge. Over by the railroad tracks, just across from the river. The point where the streetcar turns west and heads into the industrial area.¬†Over by all that towering new constructions.

I used to live at NW 11th and Northrup, and one of the great finds in my new neighborhood was the little park across the street, the one with the pond and the grass and the wall of old rail ties. Did you know it’s a water-recycling park? That there really are (artificial) “springs,” around which you can sit and picnic or read or just lie in the grass? Did you know about the native plants and flowers? Ducks?

City? Nature? Yes!
City? Nature? Yes!

One might also see wedding parties or fashion shoots in the park, but on two consecutive evening walks, when most everybody had gone home, I saw a beaver in the Willamette (three blocks away) and a heron in Tanner Springs Park, stalking fish, while a mallard slept in the shore grass. A friend who lives on the other side of the park said he saw an osprey come in once.

Life in the city continues to impress and surprise.

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