When it comes to sampling a surprising oasis in the midst of a bustling urban environment, Tanner Springs Park in Portland does shine. Situated at NW 10th Avenue and Marshall, this destination is open from 5:00 am to midnight, allowing great flexibility for those interested in visiting.
Tanner Springs Park is located in the Pearl District of Portland, which was formerly a lake and wetland that was supplied by streams that flowed from the hills of the southwest part of the city. The Tanner Creek springs deposited in the basin of Couch Lake, which comprises the present-day surroundings of Tanner Springs Park.
The latter portion of the 19th century saw significant increases in the population of Portland and its environs, and Tanner Creek was diverted through a series of below ground pipes outward to the Willamette River.
Ultimately, the wetlands and the lake were filed so that rail yards and warehouses could be built. In time, these were supplanted by shops, apartment dwellings, and public areas.
Once planning for the Pearl District commenced in earnest during the early part of the 1990s, it was clear that City administrators as well as the neighborhood itself had a vested interest in developing a series of public squares and spaces.
By 1998, the Tanner Creek and Water Feature Committee in conjunction with the City Council brought forth a general plan for parks and similar spaces. The ideas contained therein formed the basis for the City’s eventual initiatives in this realm.
Though the plans originally called for North Park Square (now known as Tanner Springs Park) to be designed by the renowned Maya Lin, issues were raised by nearby residents who were not enthusiastic about Lin’s intention to erect a child-centric sculpture in the park, considering that Jamison Square was so close in proximity.
Tanner Springs Park is linked to Jamison Square by a boardwalk structure. The area is calm and restful due to its naturalistic elements. A waterscape feature is particularly appealing, with its soothing sounds.
Vegetation in the park is plentiful, with native grass species, maple trees, Oregon oaks and red alders planted throughout. The park’s eastern portion includes Artwall, an installation made mostly of reclaimed rail tracks donated by the Portland Terminal Railroad. Artwall is also characterized by the translucent blue glass mixed in with the rails.
Prospective visitors to Tanner Springs Park should be advised that pets are not permitted due to damage to the ecosystem of the pond that occurred in earlier years.
Though Tanner Springs Park does have some detractors who view its maintenance and support as unnecessary use of scarce public resources, others have praised it as a tiny patch of tranquility in the city.
The “pocket park” concept is something that certain observers have found perplexing, but there can be no denying that Tanner Springs Park, created by Atelier Dreiseitl offers a fascinatingly stylized experience for Portland natives and tourists alike. Anyone with some time to spare should take a closer look at this site.
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