One of the most popular attractions in the city of Gladstone is a park on the Willamette River, near where the Willamette and Clackamas Rivers join. This park is especially well known among those that fish, and "Meldrum Bar" is a spit of sand (a river bar) that shoots out into the Willamette River at this point. Any time of the year, you can find people down on the bar, so long as it is exposed, and not under water!
Meldrum Bar Park also features very popular sports fields for both soccer and baseball, a community garden, a radio controlled model car course, picnic facilities, a small section of wild forest, and a few paved trails, including one that runs along the Willamette River.
According to many maps, there is actually a complex of small park properties here, but Meldrum Bar Park is how the place is marked, and functionally it is one large park.
NOTE: The city of Gladstone does not feature any information about its city parks on its web site at this time. The web site below is about as close as you will be able to find to an official web site for the park.
This is one of the oldest neighborhood events in Oregon, and in fact a special streetcar line was built from what is now Portland Avenue to the old Chautauqua Festival Grounds in 1893 to serve what was at one time one of the biggest events in the Portland area.
Things change, and unfortunately sometimes not for the better. Decades ago, the Chautauqua Festival grounds were sold to a church group, and the festival moved to a city park and city streets. As more neighborhood festivals developed all over the Portland area, the sheer size of the Gladstone Chautauqua Festival shrank. It is now mostly of local interest only.
Features include local bands, street dancing for adults until midnight on some days of the festival, a beer garden, and activities for kids. These kids activities include such things as rides on the city's fire truck.
Despite the change in ownership, tours of the original Chautauqua grounds are sometimes offered, as well as tours of historic places in Gladstone.
Raffles, bingo, and activities provided by the Gladstone senior center (which is a very active community center, not necessarily just for those of retirement age) also a major feature of this event.
You have to be really careful at this event as far as the origin of the "crafts" as it is local vendors selling craft items, but some of them may not be of very local origin at all.
While it is going on during early August, an entire section of downtown Gladstone is shut down. Thus, it isn't that difficult to find this event. Just look for the closed streets! However, officially speaking, the event takes place in Patterson Park (which much spill over into the rest of Gladstone, including the streets).
In reality, the Gladstone Nature Trail is a simple paved walkway that forms a short cut between the bike paths on Oatfield Road and Webster Road.
The path hadn't been open very long when these photos were taken. There appears to be some effort being made to eliminate the weeds and turn it into a restored grove or Oregon oak trees and similar native plants.
There is still a long way to go.
It is a pleasant pathway as it gets pedestrian traffic away from the horribly busy and noisy Oatfield and Webster, but the pathway is only about 1/4 mile long (about 1/2 kilometer). Such a short pathway really doesn't represent much of a tourist attraction, but it is what Gladstone has for a "Nature Trail".
As the sign says: be carefull of poison oak!
The Clackamas River through Gladstone looks peaceful and fairly beautiful, but it has also been responsible for a number of deaths. Suggestions of putting a lifeguard on duty aren't particularly practical, as the lifeguard would probably get killed too.
People still go into the river, and people still get killed from time to time.
If you choose to enter, just be very careful of potentially large fluctuations in water level, fast currents, and strong undertow that will suck people under the water.
There are signs in many locations warning of the dangers of the river here.
While it was a reasonably important transportation link for a number of years, when Interstate 205 was completed across the Clackamas River in the late 1970s, this bridge became surplus to the transportation needs of the area, and was simply closed. During that very same period of time, there was a significant change in the way Interstate highway money was distributed: states would now have to take into consideration pedestrian and bicycle access, which would be removed with the construction of Interstate highways.
This bridge was a prime candidate for providing repalcement bicycle and pedestrian access, though there is no pathway south of Oregon City along I-205.
Due to a number of deaths every year from teenagers attempting to show off by jumping off the bridge into the water and killing themselves on the rocks in the river, more and more fencing is added to the bridge every year in order to try to prevent people from jumping off of the bridge.
From the south side of the bridge, it is possible to walk along this quiet end of Washington Street, turn off the road after the houses, and follow the edge of the river and go all the way to Main Street in Oregon City on the Clackamas River Trail on the Oregon City side of the bridge. On the Gladstone side of the bridge, the trails from Cross Park as well as the I-205 bike path (which continues north from here, as the policy change at the federal level happened when I-205 was being built through this area) link the bridge to a number of different options.
In May of 2009, the Clackamas County Arts Alliance installed what they called a "Giant Charm Bracelet" on the bridge. This cable with a series of cutouts on it features natural features, animals, and historical scenes.
Public art in Gladstone is fairly small in quantity, but there is some. For some years now, one of the least appreciated public art features in the city of Gladstone has been Gladstone's only outdoor fountain, operated on the grounds of the Top Notch Coin Operated Laundry at the corner of Portland Avenue and Gloucester Street.
On the south corner of that intersection, an antique washing machine, complete with Maytag serial number label and clothes wringer, has been turned into a fountain.
The fountain is only turned on in the summer months, in order to prevent the water from freezing.
130 Reviews and Opinions