Established in 1888, and now owned and maintained by the Metro Regional Government, the Multnomah Park Pioneer Cemetery is by far the oldest continuously operating dedicated public place of any sort in Lents.
It features a number of older headstones, as well as a number of new ones right up into the recent years. Some of these are laser-engraved marble with photographic imprints, making a stark contrast to the antique marble that has weathered so much that all edges as smooth and the letters barely visible.
The cemetery only has entrances on Holgate and 82nd. Any entrance from any of the nearby neighborhood streets is considered trespassing and will be prosecuted as such.
The cemetery has a mixture of shady and sunny locations, but much of it is in light shade.
Links on the Metro web site provide the ability for those to search grave site records online.
Only certain types of items are allowed to be left at grave sites. There are flyers available listing those items specifically allowed and specifically banned from being placed at the grave sites.
Located At: The intersection of SE Holgate Blvd. and SE 82nd Avenue. Bus routes 72 and 17 are essentially right at the doorstep. Nearest exits from Interstate 205 are at Foster Road and Powell Blvd. From those go west to 82nd Avenue, which is slightly more than 1/2 mile west of the freeway.
The web site below is for the Metro Regional Government. To get to the page that describes the cemetery, select "Places and Activities" from the menu at right, then "Pioneer Cemeteries" from the new list, and then go down to the Multnomah Park listing. Selecting this gives you the web page at
but the format of this URL doesn't give me much hope that it will stay permanently this way.
- Historical Travel
Ed Benedict Park contains a number of items of local interest only, including some busy sports fields during soccer season and a playground.
There is also this memorial garden that was built specifically for those suffering from Alzheimer's Disease - and for those family members who are taking care of individuals with this disease.
The garden is kept separated from the rest of the park by an attractive but substantial fence, which helps keep those suffering from the disease from suddenly wandering off and disappearing. Many of the flower beds are elevated to allow those in wheelchairs to examine the flowers more closely than they would be able to do if the flower beds were at ground level. Efforts have been made to try to reduce the impact of the traffic noise from Powell Blvd. (though it is still a problem). Most of the garden has been kept level, except for a slightly raised theatre-like centerpiece to the grass center of the park.
Flower and tree selection has been made so that during most times of the year, there is at least a little color to the park. Even in early November (when all of these photos were taken) there were still a few things in bloom.
Visitors to the garden may not necessarily remember the names of family members who are helping them explore the garden, but they will be able to appreciate the garden and converse about those things they see here and now.
Several national groups were involved in the design and construction of the garden. See the city's web site below for details.
How to Get There: East on SE Powell Blvd. past I-205 and the TriMet bus garage on the south side of the road. Just after the bus garage is Benedict Park, which is also on the south side of the road. Turn south at next traffic light (SE 104th Avenue). You may then make an immediate right turn into parking lot for the park, or park on the street 20 feet south of the entrance to the parking lot. Only a few other streets in the area are able to accept on-street parking.
The entrance gate to the park faces southwest at the corner of SE 104th Avenue and Bush Street
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
Except for the Portland Memory Garden (see the separate tip - and which is worthy of a separate tip as it is a unique feature and attraction unto itself), this park is almost completely of local interest only.
There are several sports fields, as well as a small playground and a lot of grass. The far east end of the park has a forested area with medium-size trees.
As of this writing, there is some sort of construction project going on inside the park, which appears to be adding some sort of feature to the park.
The park suffers quite a lot from traffic noise from Powell Blvd.
To get to the park: eastbound on SE Powell past I-205, and past the TriMet bus garage on the south side of Powell. Just after the bus garage, the park is also on the south side. Turn right at the next traffic light, which is SE 104th Avenue, then make an immediate right turn into the parking lot for the park.
TriMet bus route #9 is on Powell Blvd.
For some years now, the Lents area has had a summer concert and movie in the park series that serves as a celebration of the end of summer.
However, the bandstand where these events were held (located in Lents Park) was not up to the best of standards. Quite honestly, it looked like someone had taken a standard park picnic shelter, and sliced it in half, leaving a very unfinished looking structure.
Local artist Maxine Miller (a recent transplant from California) was walking through the park one day on her way to a nearby coffee shop, and saw the thing in its original state (see photo 4). Feeling that the thing was quite unattractive and incomplete looking (which it was) she came up with a concept that would drastically improve the appearance of the structure while not adding or subtracting anything (which would be expensive). Approval was obtained from the Portland Parks department and a small but dedicated group of neighbors cleaned, painted, and added the artwork content to occupy the space that just looked empty. Among the key helpers included Wes Wolfe and his work crew (Wes is a building contractor that lives nearby) and Portland Youth Builders (a nearby non-profit organization that helps youth learn a trade), so this very much was a community based effort.
By the middle of August, 2008, the Lents Bandstand had a completely new look.
The artwork uses mostly existing timbers in the structure painted as run rays. Before, these timbers were raw wood and likely to decay after too many more years of exposure (see photo 4).
The only trace of the unfinished look the building used to have is only possible to imagine now, by looking at the side of the structure (see photo 3).
The result is a huge improvement over the helf-finished building look that used to be here, and the fact that it is entirely a product of local people from the area surrounding the park makes it all the more unique.
The web site below is for the Lents community group, some members of which helped in the redecorating of the bandstand. Many of the items there are strictly of interest to locals, but some community events there may be of interest to those from outside the community as well.
- Arts and Culture
While it is fairly good sized, Lents Park is primarily a neighborhood park, and does not serve as a huge draw for people from other parts of the city and region (unlike, say, Mt. Tabor Park or Council Crest Park or Forest Park).
There are a number of picnic tables scattered through the park, most of which are shaded by trees. A small playground sits at the south side of the park.
In the Southeast Corner of the park, the Lents Community Garden as well as the park's off leash dog area provide a location for special uses.
The Lents Bandstand is on the central east side of the park. This is where various events, including a summer concert series, are held.
A bark dust jogging path circles the center of the park.
As seen in photo 5, the basketball courts have a mural painted on the wall. Portland Youth Builders is an organization in the area that works with low income people in their very late teens and early 20s.
There are a number of sports facilities in the park as well, including several well used baseball diamonds and soccer fields.
The street on the east side of the park is SE 92nd Avenue, which is the first significant street to the west of I-205 in this section of town. If you exit I-205 at Foster Road, Powell Blvd, Division Street, or Washington Street and head west two blocks, you will come to a traffic light at 92nd Avenue. The freeway is protected enough from the park that the park doesn't experience too much traffic noise, even though it is very close.
If you are on I-205 and need to stop for a time while going through this part of town, it might be a good place to briefly explore. It certainly provides a more pleasant outdoor dining experience than any of the restaurants along 82nd Avenue due to the amount of traffic at those places.
- Road Trip
While this place is called a Wildlife Refuge, the real point of this piece of land is to act as a flood buffer that absorbs some of the excess runoff when Johnson Creek floods. The park was at one time owned by Multnomah County, but has since been taken over by the Metro regional government when Multnomah County decided to get out of the park business.
The refuge was named after a species of native sunflower.
The winter months bring water here, and that is when you are most likely to find migrating birds that have come here from further north or from the Cascade mountains or foothills, looking for some food rich winter land.
However, for the most part the park isn't extremely accessible, and the loop trail through the park is only about 500 feet long. After crossing a small bridge, the trail makes a short loop around what becomes an island in the winter months.
I've never seen anything interesting here when it is dry. In fact, it is very difficult to see much of anything here, as the vegetation is very dense and much of the land can't be seen from the publicly accessible areas.
There is one small dirt trail that comes off of the junction of the Springwater Trail and SE 111th, and another one that comes off of SE 111th about 500 feet north of this junction.
The approximate address is 6100 SE 111th Ave. Portland, OR 97266. There are few markings at the entrance to the park, other than a fence and a gravel parking area.
As far as I know, there is no official name for the little plaza at southeast 92nd and Foster Road (near the Foster Road exit of Interstate 205). Except for the traffic on the nearby streats, this would be a great place to sit and relax.
A great deal of work has gone into the plaza in recent years. Not so very long ago, this plaza was fairly plain, and nothing sat on the concrete pedestal, and had the appearance (small cut-away tie-downs) that a large statue of some sort had been recently removed from it.
Today, the plaza flourishes with plant life.
The empty lot to the north is the home of the Lents International Farmer's Market.
This little community once served as the end of the Hawthorne / Foster streetcar line, and people would transfer here to the Bellrose / Estacada interurban line going further east and south. Other than the bike path built upon the Estacada line right of way, little remains of all that. Lents is now a small neighborhood of Portland rather than being its own independent community.
The community is completely changing in response to the construction of a MAX light rail line along Interstate 205.
- Road Trip
- Arts and Culture