When you and your sister both have an early summer Monday off, you have to go do something. But what? It was a weekday and a workday, notorious for being a day popular attractions are minimally populated. Opportunities abounded. We thought about going to Horsethief Lake in Washington, but decided that it was too far away for the day’s adventure. We considered going shopping at Washington Square mall, but I didn’t have anything I needed to buy. We contemplated the beach, but decided instead to go hiking around Champoeg State Park, just outside of St. Paul, OR.
The area now known as Champoeg (pronounced: sham-poo-ee) Park was once known as tchnampuick and inhabited by the Tualatin Kalapuya tribe until the early 1800s when French-Canadians from the Hudson’s Bay Company retired here.
After stopping in at the Visitor’s Center, buying the $5 parking pass, looking around at the free exhibits and meandering through the 1860’s-style kitchen garden, we drove to the east side of the Park. There we wandered around the Riverside day use area and along the easy Pavilion Trail.
Champoeg Park Pavilion and Monument Plaza is where farmers and trappers voted for a Provisional Government in Oregon on May 2, 1843 at a “meeting of the ‘inhabitants of the Willamette settlements’.” This vote formed “the first American government on the Pacific coast.” Later, in 1900 the land was purchased by the State for a public park, and to commemorate the vote the State erected a monument here.
With the breezes through the evergreens, sunlight penetrating the clearing like a monument spotlight and happy boater laugher floating off the river, just sitting on benches made for a relaxing summer afternoon. The back history told me I was not alone in enjoying this spot. This location has hosted many happy moments. Back in the day, Champoeg was called the “Plymouth Rock of the Pacific Coast,” and every May 2nd citizens would gather to celebrate. The Pioneer Memorial Building was built in 1918 and the attached covered area was added in 1920, providing a place for these annual celebration gatherings.
With the park open year round this is a great place to come and enjoy!
After reading about the Willamette Waterfront bridge tour loop in Laura Foster’s book Walk There! 50 treks in and around Portland and Vancouver, four friends and I decided to take the jaunt.
Once in Portland, Oregon we parked about 2nd and Morrison SW Morrison Street. The street parking is pretty safe in Portland, but don’t leave valuables sitting in view anyway. If my short-term memory serves me correctly, the fee was $2 an hour and free after 7 p.m.
Starting out at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park, between the Hawthorn and the Morrison bridges, we headed north. The 2.6 mile walk took us under the Morrison and Burnside bridges. As we passed under the Burnside Bridge we caught a glimpse of the art market being packed up. If we had thought of it earlier, it might have been fun to go there first, but we were late in the day. Another adventure awaits…
Approaching the Steel Bridge we were lucky to see that a boat was also arriving about the same time we were. That meant we saw the suspension train tracks rise to allow the boat to pass through. I had never seen that. The section of train tracks horizontally rose up and then there was the gap for the boat to pass through.
We chose to cross the Steel Bridge on the upper level – the sidewalk along side the car traffic. There is also the option to cross on the bike/pedestrian path on the lower deck along side the train tracks. We then headed south along the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade. Again we passed under the Burnside and Morrison bridges before crossing over the Hawthorne Bridge.
After our walk along the river in the Portland drizzle, we certainly were hungry! So, we went to Escape From New York Pizza. Yum!