Page:Olmsted report on Portland, Oregon parks, 1903.djvu/35

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
47
REPORT OF THE PARK BOARD

large number of people who will go upon a shallow park lake who will not go, or who do not fully enjoy going upon such a river as the Willamette, where they fear being interfered with by steamers or carried away by the current if they drop an oar, and where they do not feel at home. To most expert boatmen the park lake would he a foolish little thing, but the great majority of visitors to parks are not experts, and can only thoroughly enjoy a stretch of water which appears to be very easy and safe to navigate. The broad meadows in such a park, with their open groves and scattering trees, afford opportunity for many thousands of people to enjoy themselves and each other in such a way that they can do little harm to the ground and interfere but little with each other; whereas, in the steep hillside woodlands such great crowds of people would soon destroy the greater part of the undergrowth and ground covering and make the ground bare and ugly. To properly provide for the future in the matter of a meadow park, it is necessary to secure many hundred, if not several thousand acres and it does not appear that there is any better or more economical place to make this provision in the neighborhood of the city than along Columbia Sloughs. All the comparatively level areas within the city boundary have either been subdivided and are more or less occupied by houses, or they have already attained a speculative value which would make it impracticable for the city to acquire more than one or two quarter sections at the most, and such an area would be entirely inadequate to the future needs of the city in this direction. The same amount of money spent at the Columbia Sloughs would provide a far larger area of meadows adapted to field sports, and would have the further great advantage of providing for boating lakes and waterways, which are much needed in such a park as a local landscape attraction to supplement the beauties of the meadows and groves. It seems almost impossible for any driving park association to survive many years, yet the citizens who enjoy owning and driving fast horses are an influential class, and their pleasure, it would seem, ought to be provided for in one of the public parks, if it can be done without unduly sacrificing the best interests of the majority of the visitors to the park. Assuming that gambling can be prevented, a rare track would be a decided attraction to many visitors in addition to those who use it for driving. In addition to an oval track where horses can be properly trained for racing, there might be a straight speedway of any desired length. In no other part of the city could a wide, long, level speedway be provided at less expense and with less inconvenience by the interruption of crosswise traffic than at this place. It is possible that golf may not retain its popularity for so many years as to need to be permanently provided for, yet as this large park would provide the only thoroughly adequate and suitable oppor-