Wednesday, July 31, 2013

From the Smallest to the Biggest.

I realized just recently that I am blogging from the city with the smallest park to a city with the biggest park.

It's true! The smallest public park in the world is located in Portland, Oregon. Yes, amongst the many things that we may be famous for, is Mill Ends Park, a circular piece of land 2 feet in diameter (452 square inches) that presides over (or, is surrounded by) the intersection of SW Naito Parkway and Taylor in downtown Portland.

Contrast that with the largest park in the world, Northeast Greenland National Park, which is 24,700 square miles.

That does not fit in the middle of an intersection.

However, Adirondack Park has its own claim to fame as the largest public park in the contiguous United States. At 9,375 square miles, it holds its own.

I won't post a picture because, well, you live there.

But I will share with you the story of the smallest park. In 1946, a columnist for the Oregon Journal named Dick Fagan lived right across from the traffic median that was just then being constructed on Naito Parkway (then called Front Ave). A raised concrete bed in the middle of the median was meant to hold a traffic light. However, it was never installed, and the bed became just a hole filled with trash and weeds.

As Fagan tells it, one day he looked out his window and saw a leprechaun digging in the hole. He immediately ran outside to the hole and captured the leprechaun. Of course, if you catch a leprechaun, it has to grant you a wish. Fagan wished for his own park, but neglected to say how big or small it should be. Thus, the hole in the traffic median became Fagan's park, which he named after the column he wrote: Mill Ends.

(“Mill Ends” is a loggers’ term that refers to pieces of wood left over from the milling process.)

Fagan planted flowers in the hole and maintained it, all the while spinning fanciful tales of leprechaun activity in his personal park. Over the years, the entire city of Portland has taken over as its caretaker. The park has hosted a swimming pool (with a diving board for butterflies), a miniature Ferris wheel (delivered by a full-size crane), and a tiny tent with protest signs around it (the Occupy movement

Dick Fagan died in 1969, and Mill Ends was finally officially named a city park in 1976. I pass it often when I go downtown, which is a quick 20 minute trip from home on our local subway system.

With that, I will leave you with a few of my favorite and fun Irish movies:


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  2. The Commitments is one of the best movies ever!
    And another fun, Irish movie is Waking Ned Devine.