Orenco Woods Nature Park – Hillsboro, Oregon
Orenco Woods Nature Park, the newest park in Hillsboro, Oregon, is a place locals need to visit and visit often. Situated across the street from Orenco Elementary school on the west side NE 71st Ave, it meets its eastern boundary of NW Cornelius Pass Road with a .4-mile section of the Rock Creek Trail.
Within its boundaries this park has ample car parking, restrooms, a playground, a covered picnic area, the historic McDonald House (built in 1912 for the owner, Mr. McDonald, of the Oregon Nursery Company), and both paved paths and soft surface loop trails. As the Nature Park is located on the same spot along Rock Creek where part of the old Oregon Nursery Company once existed, a weeping Deodar Cedar and apple trees remain as vestiges among large Douglas firs and oak. Along with people, you may meet deer, coyote, beavers, fish, squirrels and many birds.
As the flyer-map passed out at the Grand Opening on February 4th says, “As you explore the park you will see relics from its past, great things in the present and hints of an even more amazing future.” Speaking of the Grand Opening, it was fun! The energy was great and spirits were happy. There were doughnuts and apples to munch, speakers addressing a busy audience, Metro and Parks & Recreation booths, and lots and lots of children. If you have the chance to attend a park opening – take the opportunity! It could prove an enjoyable experience!
After receiving a map-flyer with the Orenco Time Machine scavenger hunt on the back, I set out to see what I could see. Preferring loop-walks to destination-walks, I enjoyed being able to see different parts of the park with an easy figure-8 looping walk along the paved and soft surface (mostly fine loose gravel) paths. It turned out to be about 1.2 miles, and I covered most of the 42-acre park in a short time. With paved paths, wheelchairs and strollers have options for exploration as well. Before you go, you may want to check out the Field Guide put out by Metro.
One uniquely interesting feature of this Nature Park is its interactive public art – a half apple sculpture painted bright green. “The Orenco Apple” and “Seeds of Orenco” I have heard it called. During the Grand Opening, kids and parents were standing and sitting in it and having their pictures taken.
On a side note, have you ever wondered about the name “Orenco” as I have? A weird sounding name, I always thought it derived from a local Native American language. Well, I was wrong! It apparently derives from the OREgon Nursery COmpany, which at one time included a town for employees!
Orenco Woods Nature Park
7100 NE Birch Street