Washington Park

Washington Park, along with the other grand parks in the system, ensure that Portland offers relief from the density of the city. These grand parks are accessible and just a short distance away from many of our citizens. This urban strategy improves the livability and general health of our communities.

Washington Park is a collection of distinct landscapes that includes a city park, the Hoyt Arboretum, the Oregon Zoo, the International Rose Test Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Veterans Memorial, and the Holocaust Memorial. It began in 1871 when the city purchased 41 acres in Portland’s West Hills. At the time, this was largely considered undesirable parkland because of thick brush and cougars.

Charles Meyers, the first park keeper, began to shape the landscape in the image of many European parks. In 1903, the city hired John Olmsted, whose design recommendations would transform the park. These included separating pedestrians from vehicles and converting many of the formal areas to more naturalistic landscapes.

Today, the park has grown to 410 acres, including the 187-acre arboretum and the 64-acre zoo. The Hoyt Arboretum includes 12 miles of trails and boasts 1,100 species of trees and shrubs.

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