Ardenwald Adventures

A neighborhood walk into Milwaukie’s past…

Did you know Milwaukie had an air raid tower, an airport, a King, and discrimination deeds on properties? All of these stories and so much more are part of our project entitled Ardenwald Adventures.
Ardenwald Adventures is a virtual walking tour just like Lot’s Loop. The walk stretches from the Public Safety Building to Safeway to Water Tower Park to Davis Graveyard and to 32nd/Johnson Creek. The walk is about 5.5 miles and talks about the parks, people, places, planning, and so much more. Learn about the past, present, and future of this area by using your mobile device as you explore the walk. 
The project was funded by Providence Milwaukie, Dieringer’s Properties, Inc, Hemer’s Helping Hands, Ardenwald/JCB NDA, Hector Campbell NDA, Island Station NDA, Lewelling NDA, and Milwaukie Museum. Without their great support these programs could never happen.
This has been a collaborative effort including Council President Falconer, City of Milwaukie, Milwaukie Parks Foundation, Friends of Tideman Johnson, Jim the Barber, Ardenwald NDA, Lewelling NDA, Hector Campbell NDA, PDXdesigns, and Chapel Theater. A special thank you to Kim Travis, David Parker, Steve Bennett, Pam and Milo Denham, and Michelle and Greg Hemer for doing the grunt work on this project. 
If you have a history question or are looking for a home for your Milwaukie artifacts, please contact us at , visit Milwaukie Museum Saturdays 1-5pm.


Thank you so much and enjoy your adventure!

While we want you to enjoy your walk, please be respectful of the neighbor’s privacy and stay off all private property, marked and unmarked. -Thank You

Introduction: Ardenwald Adv.- STOP 00

Milwaukie History

Native Lands

The City of Milwaukie is located on the ancestral homeland of the Clackamas people, who lived in permanent winter villages and in seasonal settlements between Tumwata (Willamette Falls) and St. Johns on the east bank of the Willamette River and into the foothills of the Cascades. The Clackamas were noted fishermen, hunters, and gatherers. Their life is described as one of the “seasonal round”; families and tribal groups would return to locations each year throughout their territory from the mountain tops to the river bottoms and all places in between. At each location, resources would be gathered and then brought back to their winter village. During the winter months they practiced their utilitarian art as well as shared stories. In 1855, the remaining members of the Clackamas were among the tribes that signed the Willamette Valley Treaty, which ceded land to the federal government. In 1856, the Clackamas, along with other Tribes across Western Oregon, were forcibly removed to the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation.

White Settlers Begin Development of Milwaukie – 1840s

In 1847 Lot Whitcomb made a land claim that encompassed Milwaukie Bay. On this claim, he platted the town of Milwaukie in 1848. Lot Whitcomb built a sawmill at Johnson Creek, a grist mill at Spring Creek, a flour mill at Kellogg Creek, and Milwaukie was established a shipping hub. By 1850, Milwaukie had 500 residents, which helped establish Milwaukie Bay as the first official port on the Willamette River. Orchardists soon arrived via the Oregon Trail and brought with them 700 grafted fruit trees, establishing Milwaukie as the agricultural center of the Clackamas area for years to come. Between 1850 and 1855, the Donation Land Claim Act introduced 30,000 White settlers who claimed 2.5 million acres of land.

National and State Exclusionary Laws– Mid-to-late 1800s

The 1850s also brought several thousand Chinese laborers to Oregon mainly to work on the railroads. In Milwaukie, orchardist Seth Lewelling employed several dozen Chinese workers in his orchards. One of these laborers was Ah Bing, who is recognized as the creator of the Bing cherry. Between 1882-1902, the US Congress passed several Chinese exclusion laws that blocked Chinese immigration and prevented Chinese immigrants who were already living in the area from becoming citizens or having families. The laws banned Chinese from attending public schools, serving on juries, voting or holding office, and they suffered from discrimination in finding housing. Many Chinese immigrants were forced to leave Oregon. Ah Bing was one of thousands of Chinese immigrants who left during this time of racist laws and practices, which were not repealed until 1943. Ah Bing never returned to Milwaukie. 

In 1844, the Provisional Government of Oregon passed the first of a series of “Exclusion Laws,” which banned slavery, but also prohibited Black people from settling or remaining in the territory. When Oregon became a state in 1859, its constitution forbade Black people from owning property or entering into contracts. This further enabled the exclusion of Black, Indigenous, and people of color in the state and in Milwaukie.

Growth in Agriculture & Development – Late 1800s to early 1900s

By 1887 the Oregon to California Railroad line was finished. It was the first line completing the connection from California to Washington. It allowed goods and people to transport freely along the West Coast. This is the track that still runs parallel to Railroad Ave. 

In 1892, an electric trolley line connected Milwaukie to Oregon City and Portland, which attracted Portland elites who built summer homes around Kellogg Lake and near Elk Rock Island. Immigrants – primarily Germans, Italians, and Japanese – also arrived in larger numbers during this time. Many current areas of Milwaukie outside of downtown were active farmlands where those immigrant families created family farms that lasted for decades. In 1903, Milwaukie was incorporated as a city, and developers were platting new areas for single dwelling homes.

The Great Depression resulted in an economic downturn, which led to the creation of programs under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. These programs helped create McLoughlin Boulevard, which provided direct automobile access to Portland and Oregon City, City Hall, and the building that houses Portland Waldorf School today. 

The onset of World War II led to the creation of thousands of jobs in shipyards and other wartime industries in the region, which dramatically increased Milwaukie’s population. The City reached a population of 5,000 people by the end of the war.

Rise of Suburban Growth & Continued Exclusion – Mid 1900s

During the 1950s, suburban growth was fueled by the rise of the automobile and continued by federal investments in highway building and rail lines coupled with local disinvestment in mass transportation. In 1958, the trolley line that connected Milwaukie to the region was shut down, increasing dependency on cars. This transportation change led to suburban style, low-density single-unit housing development, which continued through the 1960’s and 70’s. 

Even with the post-war population increase, the city and region remained predominately White. The lack of diversity can be attributed to federal, state, and local discriminatory laws and practices, including explicitly racist deed restrictions (declared unenforceable in 1948) that encumbered many real estate transactions in Milwaukie and the region. As a result, Milwaukie developed into a mostly White suburb of Portland, dominated by detached housing that excluded Black people and people of color through deed restrictions, redlining , and low density zoning that prohibited more affordable housing types in most of the community. Racial covenants were legal clauses written into a deed restricting who could own or live on the property based on race. Racially restrictive covenants were a national practice beginning in the early 1900s but were declared unenforceable in 1948 by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) assessed neighborhoods’ desirability by assigning colors on a map (red, yellow, blue, and green). Categorization of neighborhoods was, in part, determined by the average income, racial, or ethnic makeup of the area. Redlined areas typically had concentrations of Black residents or other people of color. This made it difficult or impossible for residents living in “redlined” neighborhoods to receive residential and commercial loans. In 1968, the Fair Housing Act was enacted to prohibit the discrimination of people based on race, color, national origin, and religion when selling or renting housing. It was later amended to include sex, familial status, and disability as protected classes as well. Black people and people of color were left with little opportunity to create wealth through homeownership and further segregated them into areas zoned for more affordable, higher density rental housing.

Continued Employment Growth with Transportation Expansions – Late 1900s

An influx of suburbanites and annexations added to the city’s growth in the 1950s and 1960s, and the city’s population expanded to 16,000 by 1970. The Kellogg Park housing development, which was created as worker housing during World War II, was converted into industrial lands and is now the North Milwaukie Innovation Area. The year 1970 also brought the construction of Hillside Manor, a nine-story affordable housing building owned by the Housing Authority of Clackamas County. This building is located on the site of the Hillside Park housing complex, which was constructed to serve as working and military housing during World War II.

In 1983, Interstate 205 was completed and provided a new route to the east side of the Milwaukie and a connection to Highway 224, which had opened in 1969. The 1980s saw the creation of a new industrial area along International Way. Clackamas Town Center and other regional malls were also built during this time period, contributing to the economic decline of downtown Milwaukie businesses.

Slow Residential Growth to Renewed Interest – Early 2000s to Present

Milwaukie’s population grew by just over 10% from 1980 to 2000 and experienced no net population growth between 2000 and 2015. In 2015, however, the Metropolitan Area Transit (MAX) Orange Line opened, providing light rail access to Milwaukie and a reconnection to the rest of the region. Since that time, the city has seen increased interest in the downtown area, including the development of new housing that is anticipated to continue into the future. Today the city recognizes the historical exclusionary laws and other policies that created a city zoned with 70% low density, single-dwelling unit development. This Plan is designed to set Milwaukie on a path to be more inclusionary and expand opportunities for all residents regardless of color, race, religion, or economic/social class.

Milwaukie Donation Land Claim Map


Learn More…   Go to stop #4 to learn more about Hector Campbell Donation Land Claim

Learn More…   Go to stop #4 to learn more about Hathaway Donation Land Claim

Learn More…   Go to stop #22 to learn more about George Wills Donation Land Claim.

Learn More…   Go to stop #36 to learn more about William Meek Donation Land Claim

Learn More…   Go to Lot’s Loop to learn more about Lot Whitcomb Donation Land Claim

Milwaukie Community Vision

In 2040, Milwaukie is a flourishing city that is entirely equitable, delightfully livable, and completely sustainable. It is a safe and welcoming community whose residents enjoy secure and meaningful work, a comprehensive educational system, and affordable housing. 

A complete network of sidewalks, bike lanes, and paths along with well-maintained streets and a robust transit system connects our neighborhood centers. Art and creativity are woven into the fabric of the city. Milwaukie’s neighborhoods are the centers of daily life, with each containing amenities and community-minded local businesses that meet residents’ needs. 

 Our industrial areas are magnets for innovation, and models for environmentally sensitive manufacturing and high-wage jobs. Our residents can easily access the training and education needed to win those jobs. 

Milwaukie nurtures a verdant canopy of beneficial trees, promotes sustainable development, and is a net-zero energy city. The Willamette River, Johnson Creek, and Kellogg Creek are free-flowing and accessible. Their ecosystems are protected by a robust stormwater treatment system and enhanced by appropriate riparian vegetation.

Milwaukie is a resilient community, adaptive to the realities of a changing climate, and prepared for emergencies, such as the Cascadia Event. 

Milwaukie’s government is transparent and accessible and is committed to promoting tolerance and inclusion and eliminating disparities. It strongly encourages engagement and participation by all and nurtures a deep sense of community through celebrations and collective action. Residents have the resources necessary to access the help they need. In this great city, we strive to reach our full potential in the areas of education, environmental stewardship, commerce, culture, and recreation; and are proud to call it home. 

Stop 1: 32nd and Harrison

Jim the Barber

 Need A Hair Cut?? If you have lived in Milwaukie any time since 1937 it is likely that a Townsend has cut your hair.

Everett, born 1905 in the Midwest moved with his family to the North Plains area of Oregon where he and his six brothers worked on the family farm.  After an older brother left to go to barber school and be a barber, Everett felt that was the job for him.

After graduation, he moved to Goldendale WA where he met his wife; Margaret, and they had their first child.

In 1937 Everett moved the family to Milwaukie and opened his barbershop.  This shop was located on Main between Washington and Jefferson where Libbie’s Restaurant stands today.   In 1938 the Townsend’s added to the family when son Jim was born.

Jim is a Milwaukie boy through and through.  Milwaukie Elementary, Milwaukie Junior High (now Waldorf School), and Milwaukie High School class of 1956.  

Jim’s main memories as a child include his first job delivering the Oregonian.  Getting up at 5AM to meet up by the intersection of Monroe and Railroad to get his papers and deliver them before school. 

When Jim was around 15, he was recruited by Paul Hager of Hager’s Dairy (corner of 27th and Washington) to be his runner.  First for Mrs. Hager then Mr. Hager Jim would jump up and down off the truck running bottles of milk to the front door, collect the empties and then run them back to the truck.  He did this until he got his license and then he became a driver.

After High School, Jim did one year at Portland State.  It was during this year that he bought his pride and joy, that beautiful 1957 Ford that he still owns.  Currently, it is restored and only has 250K miles after 60+ years.

While in High School, Jim met Jean Johnson.  They met in church, she was 2 years behind him in High School.

1958 saw two major changes in his life.  Jim enrolled and graduated from barber school and he married Jean, his high school sweetheart.

After graduation, Jim joined his father’s shop and for the next 6 years they were partners together cutting hair in downtown Milwaukie.  Around 1963, the shop was moved down and across the street to the corner of Washington and Main in the Kellogg-Wetzler Building.

After 27 years, Everett retired from the business and Jim took it over in 1968.  During this time, Jim spent 8 years in the Air National Guard.  He learned to play tennis and played in many leagues and tournaments for the Eastmoreland Racket Club.

In 1989 Jim moved the shop to its current location on the corner of 32nd and Harrison.  In 2006 the 3rd generation of Townsends’ joined the business when Jason graduated from barber college and began cutting hair with his dad.

Jim has spent 80+ years in Milwaukie, and 60 of those years he has cut the hair of just about every boy here in Milwaukie.  He has been in thousands of pictures with smiling parents and wailing kids as they sit for that first haircut; which at times includes multiple generations of the same family.  Jim misses the small-town feel of Milwaukie when Main Street was lined with clothing stores, shoe shops, pharmacies, and candy stores.  When you walk into Jim’s Barber Styling; it takes you back to a previous time of calm and a bit of old school.


OC Railroad

From this spot at the corner of SE Harrison Street and SE 32nd look to the West towards Mike’s Drive-In and you will see some train tracks. The rail line is owned today by Union Pacific and you can see freight and passenger trains alike on any given day; this was the original spot of the Oregon & California Railroad.

The Oregon and California Railroad (O&C) was the first railroad to connect Oregon with California. Construction of the line began in Portland during the spring of 1868. Under the leadership of transportation tycoon Ben Holladay railroad workers, many of them Chinese, extended tracks to Oregon City in 1869, to Salem in 1870, and to Roseburg in 1872. In December 1887 after a long hiatus due to a lack of funds, the O&C line was finally extended to the California border by which time the railroad had been taken over by the California-based Southern Pacific Company.

The Construction Crews

According to the papers, the work crews numbered between 150 to 200 men (there is no mention of women being involved). Of these, a large number were Chinese. They were paid $30 a month and typically would be called on to work more than the white men were. The white men received $35 to $45 a month as well as their board.

An article in the Sept. 5, 1868 Oregon City Weekly Enterprise reacted to a number of letters received asking why the Chinese men were being hired rather than the white men. The answer given was simple: economics. There weren’t enough white men willing and able to work. Those engaged in agriculture couldn’t be expected to give up their farms for this work. The other potential source of white men, miners, weren’t seen as reliable. They probably couldn’t be induced to come into the valley to do the work and “at the first big humbug gold excitement these hands would scamper off.” 

Construction of the road

The workers were split into crews. The first out was the choppers, clearing trees for the road. There were followed by the “navvys”. Navvys were the excavators, digging out or adding to a road to make it as level as possible. A third component crew worked in building the mills for cutting timber and machine shops for making any tools and equipment. Two survey crew were engaged in planning where the road was to go next.

Workers would be assigned to different crews depending on the work needed. Somewhere about two miles from Milwaukie, there was a stretch of land requiring cutting through a ridge for several hundred feet removing gravel up to 12-15 feet deep. No specifics were given to the precise location of this cut. 

The mills were responsible mainly for preparing railroad ties and wood for railroad trestles. According to the Oregonian, the ties were 8 ft. long and 6” x 8” in width and height. They were placed 2 feet apart from each other. The railroad estimated needing 2,620 ties per mile. They got all of the timber they needed from right along the railway. As track was completed, rail cars would be brought up to take the fallen trees back to the mills for preparation, then loaded back onto the rail cars and taken up to the front.  

STOP 2: 35th & Harrison

William Shindler Home

 At 3235 SE Harrison St. sits the Shindler Home built 1888; this is the oldest house in Ardenwald. It is thought that the original structure might have been built in 1849 by Hector Campbell. The property was part of a land grant owned by William Meeks. Campbell sold the house and 11 acres to his daughter Ellen and her husband John Waits, who added major new sections to the old structure, including the flourishes that transformed it from a farmhouse to an Italianate home of some stature. They added balconies off the front where two windows are now. Each of the windows was originally a door.

When John and Ellen Waits moved to Portland, they sold the home and land to William Shindler, the first elected mayor of Milwaukie. Shindler grew plums and grapes on the land, and raised cows whose milk was made into cheese in the shed that is still in the yard. The Shindlers lived in the home for 108 years. 

The property was subdivided in 1924, and the yard now measures about ¾ acre. The oldest and largest dogwood in the world once grew in the yard, but it came down in the famous Columbus Day storm.  


Fire Dept History

For 90 years the City of Milwaukie maintained an independent Fire Department.  A volunteer force initially, the first emergency responders upon hearing the fire bell would assemble between Main Street and McLoughlin Boulevard on Monroe Street.  The first Chief, Myrle Lakin, was unpaid as were the firefighters.

By the 1920’s the volunteer force had been replaced by a paid professional staff and with the completion of the first City Hall, at 21st and Monroe, the fire department moved to that building.  In 1938 the department would again move with the rest of the municipal government to the present City Hall site.  Over the course of the coming decades, several other stations around the city would be constructed and used by the Milwaukie Fire Department (MFD).

In February 1956, the MFD’s only on-duty fatality occurred when Assistant Chief Warren Nott drowned in a frozen Kellogg Lake while rescuing a father and son who had fallen through the ice.  The father and son survived but Chief Nott, age 42 with a young family at home, lost his life.  To read an eye-witness account of the tragedy sees the Milwaukie Review article below under Supporting Documents.  Today a plaque by the Fire Bay doors at City Hall commemorates his sacrifice in the line of duty.

Throughout its tenure, the MFD served the city in times of emergency and also played host to many community and social activities ranging from dances to children’s parties and serving as a sponsor for Boy Scout Troop 911.

For three decades, beginning in the 1970’s, a public conversation about merging the MFD with other North Clackamas fire districts ensued, and finally, in 1996 the MFD was merged into Clackamas County Fire District No. 1, which serves the City today.   


Police Dept History

Since 1903 Milwaukie has been served faithfully by municipal law enforcement, first by the Office of the Marshal and then by an organized Police Department.

In the first 14 years, sixteen volunteer Marshals were elected or appointed by the City Council, including two who served as Marshal twice and two that would also serve as Police Chief.  Notable among these early lawmen was Jesse A. Keck, a reliable public servant for decades who served twice as Marshal (1903 and 1908-1909), twice as City Recorder (1903-1905 and 1910-1911), and served as Police Chief for over a decade (1921-1934).

In 1917 the City formally organized the Police Department and hired Sam Riley, who had also been Marshal, as the first paid Police Chief.  The first department staff included the Chief and two other officers.  Since then the department has grown as the city has grown and moved from offices at City Hall in the 1930s, to a renovated house in the 1970s and 1980s, and finally in 1994 to its current location at the Public Safety Building.

To date, the only officer lost in the line of duty was Sergeant James Henry Worell, a five-year veteran of the Milwaukie Police Department, who was overcome by carbon monoxide fumes while seated in his patrol car at City Hall.  In appreciation of Sergeant Worell’s service the City Council adopted Resolution 1-1954 that memorialized Sargent Worell’s commitment to service.   


Hero – Warren Nott

February 5th, 1956 is a day that will live in the hearts of Milwaukians forever. It was 1:30 on Sunday afternoon when Mike Daley, accompanied by his father Clarence and his friend Ward Wescott, decided to go ice skating on the already rubbery ice of Kellogg Lake. Suddenly the ice gave way and the 13-year-old Mike fell into the lake about 100 ft. from the shore; Ward Wescott scrambled to the safety of the shore.

Hearing cries from the Lake, Monroe Sweetland quickly called the fire department and ran out to help. Mr. Daley then started across the lake but could hear the ice cracking below his feet. Monroe Sweetland, who was lunching with friends, swiftly ran to a neighbor’s porch and grabbed a sled. Clarence Daley laid belly down on the sled and hurried onto the ice to save his son.

He was 20 ft. away from his son when the ice gave way. Monroe Sweetland and his luncheon group grabbed 1-inch pipes, a hoe, a garden hose, and two rowboats. They started cracking and breaking the ice in front of their craft towards the man and boy.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukie Fire Department arrived on the scene. They placed a 25 ft. extension ladder on the ice, hoping to provide enough stability for the rescue and Fireman Warren Nott climbed out to the end of the ladder to reach Mr. Daley. In an effort to ensure Mr. Daley and Fireman Nott’s combined weight did not break the ice, Fireman Nott selfishly removed himself from the ladder. The ice immediately broke and Fireman Nott started thrashing about in the lake.

The first of Monroe Sweetland’s rowboats reached Mr. Daley and the sled was pushed to Mike Daley. Both unconscious and frozen, man and boy were pulled onto the boat and the boat headed to shore. Ward Wescott and Fireman Beeson were tossing ropes to Fireman Nott. Officer Mathis, who arrived on the scene when Nott broke through the ice, jumped into the water with a rope around him, but could not reach Nott. 

The second rowboat reached the spot where Fireman Nott had succumbed to the frozen water. Sweetland dropped a fireman’s pike into about 10 ft. of water to retrieve the hero’s body. Nott was quickly taken to shore and for an hour attempts were made to resuscitate him but to no avail. The Daley’s and Officer Mathis were released from the hospital the next day.

Warren Nott is the only Fireman in Milwaukie history to be killed in the line of active duty; he left behind two children and a wife. A plaque is dedicated to him outside of City Hall and the full news article can be found at the Public Safety Building Firehouse across the street.  


Dogwood City of Milwaukie

Ever wonder why Milwaukie is the Dogwood City of the West? Why the white, six to eight petal flower of the Dogwood was almost chosen as the United States National flower and is now our City emblem? And what does our slogan really mean to us today?

Dogwoods have a very hard and durable wood named Cornus wood used by the Natives and pioneers for shuttles, mallets, and clubs. The twigs were even used for toothbrushes. But is most famous use being a skewer used for roasting meat. It was not for roasting canine meat, but the skewers were called dags. The trees were then referred as “those dags wood trees” and over time they became known as Dogwoods.

 In 1834 a British botanist was exploring the Fort Vancouver area when he was awestruck by the countryside filled with these spectacular blooms. He had seen the British and Eastern species but was memorized by the beauty of the Western species. He sent specimens to his friend, James Audubon who named the species Cornus Nuttailli or Pacific Dogwood. Mr. Audubon adored the Dogwood blooms so much, he would paint various bird species eating the fruit or resting on the branches near the flower. In fact, he used the Pacific Dogwood so often it was commonly called the Audubon.

The City’s first mayor and his wife, the Shindlers, bought property with a small Dogwood in the front yard. The tree had managed to survive the cattle, the clearing of land, and the planting of fruit trees. Mrs. Shindler loved the tree at 3235 SE Harrison St., constantly protecting it, never allowing another tree to grow near, never allowing a branch to be trimmed. The native Pacific Dogwood grew and grew, year after year producing magnificent blooms. It was quite the joy to see the Big Dogwood on Harrison Street glisten in full bloom on a sunny spring day.

The Dogwood became well known and in 1952, after 100 years of nurturing, protection, love, and admiration, the Harrison St. Tree was 65 ft. tall and 4 ft. around with a canopy stretching over 50 ft. The American Tree Association studied and scrutinized, then proclaimed it the largest and oldest Dogwood in the world. In 1962, eighty-two years after Milwaukie was incorporated, 82 years after the Dogwood flower became the City’s emblem, the beloved tree became a casualty of the 1962 Columbus Day Storm.

Like the Dogwood, Milwaukie grows every year, nurturing and enriching itself to create strong community roots, a solid trunk, and outward reaching branches. We as individuals are each pretty flowers but when joined together, blooming and blossoming, Milwaukie glistens throughout the countryside, a City to be admired and adored, the Dogwood City of the West! 

Stop 3: 34th & King

The King House

The original tract of land sold to Patrick King was just under 2 acres in size. It included what is now the main parking lot of the Providence Milwaukie Hospital and the lot just west. That original lot was split up over the years. Currently, it is .44 acres in size.

According to the Clackamas County property summary, the current bungalow was finished in 1915 (not 1910). This was confirmed by a story in the Milwaukie Press, Dec 16, 1916, celebrating the building of several new, “substantial”, houses in Milwaukie. Fortunately, the story also included a picture of the new King house. Notable is the lack of trees around the house. All those trees that surround the house now were planted after 1915. The King house was said to be “one of the show places of the town” and its sale in 1917 set a record in local real estate sales (Milwaukie Press, Mar. 15, 1917, p. 1).

The assumption is that there was some house on the property in 1911 for the family to live in, but not the one currently there.

The Kings moved to Milwaukie in 1911 and that they left in 1917, to be with family. Why did they choose to move here in the first place? One clue to that question comes from those newspaper articles announcing their 1917 move and the sale of their new home.

The saga concerns the relationship between the Kings and two Icelanders, Bardi Skulason (1871 – 1964) and Thomas Vatnsdal (1871 – 1928). Skulason and Vatnsdal lived in Grand Fork, North Dakota at the time that the Kings were in Ellendale, North Dakota. Skulason was a lawyer and politician, Vatnsdal was in lumber. While I have no direct proof that they knew each other in North Dakota, it seems highly likely, especially given the common lumber business connection.

 The Skulason family moved to Milwaukie about a year before the King’s move and the two families were obviously close. In Milwaukie, the Skulasons bought property and built their own substantial house next to the King’s at what is now to the corner of 34th and SE King. They gave a going away party for the Kings when they left Milwaukie in 1917 (“’Kings’ To Be Entertained”, Milwaukie Press, June 21, 1917, p. 1). Mr. Skulason was a prominent lawyer in North Dakota, having also served in the state House of Representatives. In Milwaukie, he practiced law, served on the Milwaukie City Council, and was the consul for Iceland in Portland.

When the Kings left Milwaukie, they sold the house to Thomas and Anna Vatnsdal (Deed Book 147, p. 140). Mr. Vatnsdal had first come to the US in 1886. There he met Anna Johnson, born in Canada but also of Icelandic heritage. They were married on July 29, 1889. Mr. Vatnsdal held British citizenship at that time, so he and his family went back to Canada from North Dakota, then entered the US at Blaine, Washington on July 3, 1917. He then applied for and received US Citizenship.

By 1926, Thomas Vatnsdal was in failing health. On Jan 25, 1927, he transferred the property to his wife Anna (Deed in Book 196, p. 92). He died on June 27, 1928. She sold the portion of the land on which the King house sits to Louis Kuykendall on March 26, 1929 (Deed in Book 196, p. 558). According to the 1930 census, in addition to the Kuykendalls, Andrew Berry also lived at the same address, probably as a boarder. The Kuykendalls sold it to Chris P. and Beatrice Steres on 1932 (Deed in Book 216, p. 142). The Stereses also entered into a mortgage agreement with both Anna Vatnsdal and the Kuykendalls on June 20, 1932 (Mortgage Book 195, pgs. 205 and 207, respectively). The Stereses sold the property to James F. and Miriam J. Bell on Aug. 3, 1947 (Deed in Book 388, p. 109). The Bells sold it to well-known Portland radio personality Lawrence (Larry) Caramella on Nov. 2, 1959 (Deed in Book 563, p. 330). The Caramellas sold it to the current owners, North Clackamas Hospital, Inc. (now merged with Providence Health Care) on Apr. 27, 1978 (Deed no. 78-18399). The house was, for some time, used to house doctors visiting the hospital and other Providence facilities. Of late, the house is rented out.  

The Kings

Patrick King was born in Aug., 1848 on Prince Edward Island, Canada.  His parents were originally from Ireland and were part of a “colony” of Roman Catholic Irish settlers on Prince Edward Island who came in several waves during the early to mid-1800s. Many, but not all, of the extended King family on Prince Edward Island moved to the US during the 1800s.

 Census records indicate that our Patrick King moved to the US in 1870. He met and married Mary Ellen Barry (born in 1857 in Wisconsin) about 1878. Their first child, Catherine, was born in 1879. According to the 1880 census, the small family was then living in Wyoming, Iowa County, Wisconsin. He was working as a clerk at a lumber yard owned by another Patrick King and his son Owen. The elder Patrick King, who I believe was our Patrick’s uncle, had moved from Prince Edward Island to the US about 1850 (Western Historical Company, History of Iowa County, Wisconsin, 1881, pp. 939-940).

Between 1880 and 1882, our Patrick King and family moved to the newly forming town of Ellendale in Dickey County, North Dakota Territory. There he established his own lumberyard with his brother, Owen (not Owen, son of the elder Patrick King mentioned above) (Black, R. M., ed., A History of Dickey County, North Dakota, 1930, p. 89).

In addition to his lumber work, Patrick King was very involved with the Roman Catholic Church. When the King’s first arrived, there was no Catholic Church building. Mass was performed at his house until the first church could be built. He and another man purchased the land for the first church building and King supervised its design and construction. (Konrad, Allen E., compiler, “Churches – Dickey County, North Dakota”, revised edition Jan. 2015, p. 27).

Within lumber circles, Patrick King was well known and liked. The following story about him was recounted in “American Lumberman”, Jan. 28, 1911, pp. 51-52:

 “A Round Table Gathering”

“There was a little bunch of lumbermen who had gathered on the moment and among them was W. E. Penfield, sales manager for the Pine Tree Lumber Company, of Little Falls, Minn., who came down to meet his host of customers, and who is properly known as “The Story Teller.” and his stories soared around the room like pigeons; the only Col. Pat King, of Ellendale, N. D., a man who, for emitting the friendly spirit is a regular human geyser. Mr. Hole said, Get Colonel King’s photo, and we will print it with a crow on his head.” And rightly it would be placed too.

The colonel gave me a scrap of history of his section that was really depressing. When I visited him, in Ellendale, I seriously considered pawning my diamonds and buying a little land. For this land, a real estate agent wanted $12.50 an acre. “Don’t you give it,” said the colonel. “If you want that land, I will get it for you for $10.” On second thought I didn’t know what kind of a showing I would make traveling around the country minus diamonds, and my pride kicked the bottom out of the scheme. And now the Colonel tells me that this same land is worth from $30 to $40 an acre. If I had been half-witted in a business way I would be clipping coupons now, as I can’t tell how many opportunities for making money have come my way. …”

King was elected to membership in the International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo (member no. 20764, “The Bulletin”, Vol. 14, No. 148, Feb. 1908.) The Order of Hoo-Hoo, which still exists, is a social organization for those in the lumber industry and related fields.

The King’s lived in Ellendale for almost 30 years and raised 8 children (Catherine, LeRoy, Theresa, Owen, Mary, Phillip Leander, James Wilfred, and Elizabeth Florence). They moved to Milwaukie, Oregon about 1911, when they purchased the land from the Scott’s. Their two youngest children (James Wilfred and Elizabeth Florence) moved with them to Milwaukie. The other six appear to have stayed in the mid-west. This explains why no Kings appear in the 1910 census. It says nothing, however, about what house, if any, existed on the property.

Patrick’s son James Wilfred, who went by Wilfred, started attending Milwaukie High School after the family moved to Milwaukie in 1911. He was one of four in the first graduating class in 1914 (Olson, Charles Oluf, History of Milwaukie, Oregon, p. 65).

Daughter Florence, as she was called, started Milwaukie High School in 1912, but withdrew after 1915 and graduated from Washington High School in Portland in 1916. Her class at Milwaukie High started with only 6 students and a brief account of the class history was included in the 1916 yearbook, The Maroon, p. 40.

Though he appears to have retired from the lumber business before the move to Oregon, Patrick King was anything but retired in Milwaukie. He was elected to the Milwaukie city council on Nov. 5, 1912 and served through 1915, during the term of mayor E. T. Elmer (The Morning Oregonian, Nov. 12, 1912, p. 12). There are many articles in the Milwaukie and Oregon City papers concerning council activities.  The archive of City Council Meetings is also a good source of information. They are available on the Digital Archives site maintained by the City of Milwaukie ( 

One of the main controversies of that time concerned the notorious Friar’s Club and Hotel Belle (then on McLoughlin Blvd where Riverfront Park is now). Both facilities had been charged with serving liquor to minors. Mr. King was the only one on the council opposed to granting new licenses after the infractions had been proven (see, for example, “Resort Issue in Milwaukie Election”, Oregon City Enterprise, Oct. 2, 1914, p. 5 and “Resort has a new lease on life … Mayor Elmer hands in resignation” Oregon City Enterprise, Nov. 20, 1914, p. 3).

Not just interested in local politics, Pat King also was active in national Democratic politics (see, for example, “Democrats to Organize Milwaukie”, Morning Oregonian, Sep. 9, 1916, p. 3). He was also active in the business community, particularly the Milwaukie Commercial Club (“Public Markets Topic”, Morning Oregonian, Mar. 25, 1914, p. 11).

By 1917, the King’s had decided to move again. They sold their new house in late February 1917 (“P. King Residence Brings Good Figure”, Milwaukie Press, Mar. 15, 1917, p. 1) and moved back to the Midwest by mid-year. Several articles in the Milwaukie Press during 1917 talk about the sale and the impending move. As one of their last acts, the family donated several sets of books to the Milwaukie school library (“School Library is Presented With New Books by P. King”, Milwaukie Press, June 28, 1917, p. 1).

In articles concerning their move, it was mentioned that the King’s were moving to Minnesota to be closer to their children living there. By the 1920 census, Patrick and Mary were living with their son Owen in Aberdeen, Brown County, South Dakota. It was reported in the History of Dickey County, North Dakota cited above, that Patrick King was living in Texas in 1929. Two of his sons (LeRoy and Phillip Leander) lived in the Houston area, so this is quite possible. By 1935, however, now a widower and 89, Patrick was back in Aberdeen, South Dakota. It appears that he died there in September of 1937. Despite promises reported in the Oregon papers that the King’s desired to return to Oregon, I have found no record that they ever did.  

Milwaukie Manor

In 1910 prominent Portland attorney and Icelandic Ambassador to Portland, Bardi Skulason, purchased the land that previously had been the site of the original Hector Campbell homestead. Several beams from the Campbell house still remain in the basement of this home. The grounds feature Alexander apple trees planted by pioneers in the 1840’s and an Endicott pear tree transplanted in the 1910s.

Milwaukie Manor Today

Noted architect Knud Roald was commissioned in 1912 to begin designing a house for the site and built a Dutch Colonial Revival that currently sits on two acres of land and is listed on the City of Milwaukie’s historic registry.  Roald used only the finest materials in the process of building this home and the total cost of the house was $10,000. Dreading what he feared would be dark, dreary Northwest winters, Mr. Skulason requested that as many windows as possible be incorporated into the house. Consequently, this seven-bedroom, 4-story home contains 132 windows!  Mr. Skulason intentionally requested the white oak floors and extensive millwork details be installed throughout the home, knowing that they would too withstand the test of time.  

In his later years, Mr. Skulason took the bus almost every day to the Icelandic Embassy in downtown Portland. After his death, his daughter Dagmar and granddaughter Karen continued to live in the house for almost 50 years. The first sale of the house outside of the original family was in 2019 to another local family.

The new owners of the home, the Bernards family own and operate a locally renowned Interior Design Firm, Studio MacLeod and have close ties with MacLeod Construction.  Together they focus heavily on historical restorations in Portland and Milwaukie. It is a dream of theirs to be apart of this piece of history as they own and restore the beautiful home in a timeless, classic approach that gives nod to all of its original character that is still in place today.

As the second owners of the home, the Bernards have recently renamed the property from the Skulason House to Milwaukie Manor as they feel it represents the grandeur of the estate and hope to carry on the tradition of restoring and maintaining the home with acute attention to detail while respecting the original attributes of this Dutch Colonial Revival, during this top to bottom restoration process.  

P&C Tool

Just down the hill on Llewellyn St sits an empty lot. This lot used to be the center of employment and opportunity for Milwaukie.


 From Milwaukie Review Feb 9, 1923:

“Everyone interested in the future welfare of Milwaukie and country surrounding should and we feel will give them a royal welcome. This addition to the business community and social circles of this community means so much to all of us. This firm and their little army of workers have not come here subsidized or asking for any great assistance from the denizens of Milwaukie, aside from moral support, but are here on their merits and because Milwaukie withs its exceptional transportation facilities and the building which they have secured, is an ideal location for their factory” 

P&C Tool started in 1922 with 23 people to mainly create high-quality mechanic tools. It soon became an employment center of 500 people during World War II as they made wrenches for the war effort. Enid Briggs, a former worker, remembers when she would work an eight-hour shift and head home. By the time she got home, the company had already called her to come back and work another shift.  During the 1970s, averaging 230 employees was bought by Pronto Tools and soon was acquired by Stanley. Stanley closed the plant in 1989 to be closer to raw materials in Georgia. 


STOP 4: 37th & King

Hector Campbell Donation Land Claim

Number 41/59 Hector and wife Olive 640 acres

The Donation Land Claim Act of 1850, sometimes known as the Donation Land Act, [1] was a statute enacted in late 1850 by the United States Congress. It was intended to promote homestead settlements in the Oregon Territory. The law, a forerunner of the later Homestead Act, brought thousands of white settlers into the new territory, swelling the ranks of settlers traveling along the Oregon Trail. 7,437 land patents were issued under the law, which expired in late 1855.

The passage of the law was largely due to the efforts of Samuel R. Thurston, the Oregon territorial delegate to Congress. [4] The act, which became law on 27 September 1850, granted 320 acres (1.3 km2) of designated areas free of charge to every unmarried white male citizen eighteen or older and 640 acres (2.6 km2) to every married couple arriving in the Oregon Territory before 1 December 1850. [5] In the case of a married couple, the husband and wife each owned half of the total grant under their own names. The law was one of the first that allowed married women in the United States to hold property under their own name. [4] “American half-breed Indians” were also eligible for the grant. [6] A provision in the law granted half the amount to those who arrived after the 1850 deadline but before 1854. [6] Claimants were required to live on the land and to cultivate it for four years to own it outright. [5]

The provisional government formed at Champoeg had limited the land claims offered in the hope of preventing land speculation. The Organic Act of the Oregon Territory had granted 640 acres (2.6 km²) to each married couple. [4] The new law voided the previous statutes but essentially continued the same policy and was worded in such a way as to legitimize existing claims. One such claim legitimized by the act was that of George Abernethy, who had been elected to the governorship in the days of the provisional government. His claim became famous for Abernethy Green, where new emigrants camped at the end of the Oregon Trail while seeking a piece of land for themselves.  

Learn More…   Go to stop #00 to learn more about Donation Land Claims and see an original map of Milwaukie with its Donation Land Claims.

Hector Campbell

Hector Campbell (1793-1873) was born in Chester, MA. He married his wife Olive in 1812 and headed west in 1849 after his sons came home from a yearlong visit in the Pacific Northwest raving about the wonderous and glorious opportunities that were there.

Hector Campbell and his family took up a claim north of the City of Milwaukie. Farming in the heavily timbered country did not count for much, hence he became the first school teacher in Milwaukie, beginning November 30, 1849, and ending February 15, 1850, and again the spring term for three months. He became the first Judge of Clackamas County under the territorial government. He was appointed Justice of Peace for Milwaukie in December 1850 and elected Probate Judge in 1858. He was a delegate from Clackamas County to the Constitutional Convention at Salem in 1858.

 Below is an article from The Oregonian from June 18, 1873

“Another Pioneer Gone- Hon. Hector Campbell of Clackamas County departed his life on the morning of the 18th…….Mr. Campbell came to Oregon across the plains bringing his family in the year 1849 being probably the first man to bring a family at a single move from the Atlantic to Pacific shore. He held during his life important public positions among which were twice a member of the Legislature of his native state; as a member of the Territorial Legislature of Oregon in 1850, and of the Constitutional Convention in 1857. In fact, since his majority he has with the simple exception of the year he crossed the plains filled continuously positions of public trust of some kind with honor, integrity, and to the perfect satisfaction of all.”  

Hathaway Donation Land Claim

Number 40/60 Daniel and wife Phoebe 640 acres

The Donation Land Claim Act of 1850, sometimes known as the Donation Land Act, [1] was a statute enacted in late 1850 by the United States Congress. It was intended to promote homestead settlements in the Oregon Territory. The law, a forerunner of the later Homestead Act, brought thousands of white settlers into the new territory, swelling the ranks of settlers traveling along the Oregon Trail. 7,437 land patents were issued under the law, which expired in late 1855.

The passage of the law was largely due to the efforts of Samuel R. Thurston, the Oregon territorial delegate to Congress.[4] The act, which became law on 27 September 1850, granted 320 acres (1.3 km2) of designated areas free of charge to every unmarried white male citizen eighteen or older and 640 acres (2.6 km2) to every married couple arriving in the Oregon Territory before 1 December 1850.[5] In the case of a married couple, the husband and wife each owned half of the total grant under their own names. The law was one of the first that allowed married women in the United States to hold property under their own name. [4] “American half-breed Indians” were also eligible for the grant.[6] A provision in the law granted half the amount to those who arrived after the 1850 deadline but before 1854.[6] Claimants were required to live on the land and to cultivate it for four years to own it outright. [5]

The provisional government formed at Champoeg had limited the land claims offered in the hope of preventing land speculation. The Organic Act of the Oregon Territory had granted 640 acres (2.6 km²) to each married couple. [4] The new law voided the previous statutes but essentially continued the same policy and was worded in such a way as to legitimize existing claims. One such claim legitimized by the act was that of George Abernethy, who had been elected to the governorship in the days of the provisional government. His claim became famous for Abernethy Green, where new emigrants camped at the end of the Oregon Trail while seeking a piece of land for themselves.  

Learn More…   Go to stop #00 to learn more about Donation Land Claims and see an original map of Milwaukie with its Donation Land Claims.

A story about Daniel Hathaway

Daniel Hathaway from Wood County, Ohio along with Orrin and Joseph Kellogg (Kellogg lake is named after them) joined P.B. Cornwall’s wagon train in Council Bluffs, Iowa across the Mississippi River from Omaha. In 1848 the wagon train began the journey along the Oregon Trail. Daniel at age 31 was accompanied by his wife Phoebe Kellogg Hathaway age 32, daughter Huldah age 4, and son Daniel age 2.

P.B. Cornwall led a wagon train of 45 men and their families including the Hathaway’s and Kellogg’s. Along the route near the Platte River, they were taken captive by Pawnees. As the story is told, the elders of the Pawnee wanted to let them move on, but the younger members wanted revenge for a massacre in Arkansas. What the accounts read is a story of the white settlers being led by Pawnee Elders down the trail. Then suddenly a group of sixty Indigenous People came upon them.

“The end seemed very near indeed; no one doubted what it was to be. The redmen had approached to within a few hundred yards when suddenly Fallon sprang to his feet…and gazed steadily at the approaching horsemen. In a quick way he turned ….yelled ”Boys, I think we’re saved” He brought his hand to his mouth and gave an Indian yell which was answered in the same way…..He (Fallon) had married a Sioux maiden the autumn before and this party proved to be a band of Sioux on the warpath against the Pawnees” 

The account continues with,” Consider the feelings of those young Pioneers, the relief, the thanksgiving that was theirs.” The Life Sketch of PB Cornwall 1906

Eventually, the wagon split into two groups. One bound to California to take advantage of the gold rush, the other to Willamette Valley for the lush, green land. P.B. Cornwall was carrying a Masonic Charter, Multnomah Lodge 84, the very first lodge in the Pacific. Orrin Kellogg was deemed the deliverer and presented it to a group of Mason’s in Oregon City upon his arrival. 

STOP 5: 37th & Harrison

Kuppenbender House

3705 SE Harrison St.

 This 3,800 sq ft home is a Tudor-style house characterized by the steeply pitched, double gable roofs with the decorative (false) half-timbered facade above the first story. The tall ornamental chimney, brick and stone veneer, and asymmetrical floor plan are also typical of the Tudor home.  They were well constructed and are among the most easily identifiable and popular residential styles that were constructed in the US between 1900 and 1940.  It stills has leaded glass windows and the inside features sconces on the ceilings. This home was built in 1921 by the Kuppenbender family.


Clair Kuppenbender

On September 15th, 2015 Milwaukie lost one of the greatest orators of Milwaukie history. Clair Kuppenbender lived in Milwaukie for over 50 years of his life.

Clair provided wonderful insight on how growing up in Milwaukie was in the 1940s and 1950s. He remembered going to Crystal Lake Park and saying admission was the same price as the streetcar. Speaking of the streetcar, Clair would love to tell this story “As kids, we would rock those streetcars so the roof of our car would rub the roof of a car coming towards us. Also, we would stand in the rear and bounce and lift the streetcars off of the track in the front.” 

Clair’s other favorite story was about “having fun with the police”. At the time, there was only one police officer in Milwaukie with only one police vehicle. He and a friend one night were observing the police officer “resting his eyes” while on patrol. They handcuffed the police officer to the steering wheel and took the handcuff key out of the officer’s grasp. Being the only officer and only police vehicle, the officer had no one to call for help and was at the mercy of Clair and his friend. As Clair would put it – ‘not smart but we had fun’.

Clair Kuppenbender was an integral part of Milwaukie Historical Society and Milwaukie Museum. His stories shed light for the younger generations to understand how Milwaukie was in those times.  


Clair Kuppenbender Research Library

A hidden gem of Milwaukie is the Clair Kuppenbender Research Library located inside Milwaukie Museum at 3737 SE Adams St.  The library houses archives, books, newspaper articles, photographs, records, and other property that is not available to the general public through the internet. The archives include people, places, and events that express the history of Milwaukie and its surrounding areas. The Research Library’s main focus is to preserve, protect, and provide public access to these items.

The Clair Kuppenbender Research Library is very useful for anyone trying to research property, history of Milwaukie and the surrounding area, or just someone trying to find a connection to a family member. The vast amount of organized information is outstanding and has led many to find answers to their questions.

Visit Milwaukie Museum Saturdays 1-5pm or make a special appointment by contacting and our docents will be there to help and assist you in your project! 

STOP 6: 42nd & Monroe

Chapel Theater

4107 SE Harrison St.

 The building now known as Chapel Theater was originally the Seventh Day Adventist Church of Milwaukie. It was dedicated free of debt in January 1946. Allen A Bringle was the first pastor. The Seventh Day Adventist Church moved to 5197 SE King Rd, now Hope City Church, in 1976 and again to 4011 SE Lake Rd in 1989. It was occupied by First Love Ministries until sold to Chapel Theater in 2016.

Chapel Theatre is the place for performance art in Milwaukie, Oregon. Home to local theater and dance performances, art classes, events and so much more. Chapel Theater truly wants you to feel these things when you step through our doors: They embrace and respect diversity, inclusion, and equity and want everyone to feel welcome. Their commitment to choosing contemporary, universally relevant, immediately and thoroughly engaging, socially conscious content is the cornerstone of what they do at Chapel Theatre Co. They hope their dedication to artistic expression and to the community at large will bring you back again and again to see their work — and to support them!  


Hector Campbell Neighborhood Association

A Neighborhood District Association (NDA) links the neighborhood together to create a vibrant local democracy and a stronger community. Every person who lives in the City of Milwaukie belongs to one of the seven NDAs. They are powerful resources for all of us. They are the officially recognized voice of the neighborhood and the basic building blocks of democracy in Milwaukie. Hector Campbell neighborhood sponsors the Campbell Community Garden on the grounds of Campbell Elementary School. 

 Each of the 7 neighborhoods, including Hector Campbell NDA (HCNDA) receives $4,000 each year from the City of Milwaukie for the purpose of running the NDA and funding projects that better our neighborhood. The Hector Campbell NDA supports many neighborhood and city-wide causes, including Campbell Community Garden, Homewood Park, annual Neighborhood summer picnic, Police Officer of the Year Dinner, CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), the MHS Senior Graduation Party, and Meals on Wheels.

The Hector Campbell NDA meets on the second Monday of every month at 6:30pm in the Community Room of the Milwaukie Public Safety Building: 3200 SE Harrison Street, Milwaukie, OR.   


King Road Shopping Center

Some of you may remember the Safeway shopping center as either Dieringers or King Road Super Center. The shopping center also contained a Photomat drive-up kiosk, a Tastee Freeze, and a KFC. In 2000 the Dieringer family, owners of the shopping center, was unable to replace the grocery anchor after it closed their doors and the Dieringers began plans to redevelop the center. The grocery store closed about the same time Milwaukie City Council decided to designate the site as a neighborhood center to fit Metro’s “main street design” guidelines.

Frank Dieringer began buying houses and clearing the site in 1956, along with his son Bob and partner Sam Bernunzio. Dieringer’s King Road Supermarket opened on March 1, 1960. One of their marketing stunts for their grand opening was to drop thousands of Ping Pong balls from a helicopter with numbers matching savings you could receive from the store. Unfortunately, many of the balls landed in neighbors’ yards and in the garden shop.

The original building was over 60,000 sq ft and boasted 27 departments and businesses under one roof. At that time, it was considered the largest shopping center (not to be confused with a “shopping mall”) under one roof in the State of Oregon. In 1960 Sen. John F Kennedy dropped in during his presidential campaign swing. Over the years, the grocery store has changed names from Dieringer’s to Disco Mart to IGA to Thriftway.  The Dieringers began redevelopment of the site around 2003 with the final phase complete when the anchor Safeway opened its doors in 2007.


Milwaukie Community Club

The white building you see down 42nd is called Milwaukie Community Club. Its story was created on February 2, 1926, when people living east of Milwaukie (that is way out around 42nd Ave) gathered at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hansen to discuss the sewer system which would raise their taxes but not serve their area. The group became known as East Milwaukie Progressive Club.

The citizens found that they had more in common than just sewers and began to meet regularly for a variety of activities. Land was purchased for $675.00 and the work of clearing trees and blasting stumps was begun. April of 1928 marked the beginning excavation of the 40×100 foot basement. On August 12th they raised the rafters and by September the roof was shingled and the gutters hung.  In 1929 the building was finished. The building was renamed in 1935 from East Milwaukie Progressive Club to Milwaukie Community Club. 

Today, Milwaukie Community Club is a great location for your next special occasion or regularly recurring event. The upper-level ballroom features a hardwood dance floor and elevated stage. The lower level includes a banquet area, kitchen, and restrooms. Ample parking is available onsite and on adjacent streets.

This versatile facility is perfect for celebrating a birthday, retirement, holiday party, family reunion, or that special quinceañera. The building is also available to the Portland area dance community, exercise groups, craft fairs, and other groups for one-time, recurring, or long-term rentals. 

STOP 7: 42nd & King

4141 SE King Rd

The house at 4141 SE King built around 1930s is an English Cottage Style. The style typically meets these characteristics: 1 – 2 stories, asymmetrical, cross-gabled, medium to steeply pitched roof, sometimes with clipped gables, occasionally “thatched” roof is seen (composition is rolled at the edge to simulate straw thatch), arrangements of tall, narrow multi-light windows in bands; often casements and occasionally leaded and/or diamond-paned, over-scaled chimneys with decorative brick or stonework and chimney pots (clinker brick may be used), gabled, enclosed entry is common often with a catslide roof, doors may be half-round or arched with decorative hardware, siding commonly seen includes stucco, shingle, and lapped, decorative half-timbering is often seen, and cozy, irregularly-shaped rooms.

Compared with the large Tudor-style country residences that appeared in the late 19th century that echoed medieval English styles, modern English cottages were much smaller and more streamlined. Characteristics commonly incorporated included the steeply pitched roof and cross-gables, large stone or brick chimneys often at the front of the house, and small-paned bands of casement windows. Entries were often front-facing gables with a catslide roof that was steep and straight on one side and artistically curved on the other. Doorways were often arched or half-round with ornate hardware and exterior lighting.  


Ellen “Nell” Martin

Ellen “Nell” Martin in front of students at Ardenwald School, 1961

The woman who would become known as the “First Lady of Milwaukie” was born on September 9th, 1891 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The third child of Councilor Owen and Mrs. Margaret Roberts, she was two years old when the family moved to Milwaukie, Oregon, settling in the Minthorn Hill area, near the present-day intersection of Harrison Street and 42nd Avenue. The family was known to sell water from Minthorn Springs to visitors on the hill. At age 6, Ellen, known as ‘Nell’, had a serious and nearly fatal bout of pneumonia which left her thin and “puny”. She survived the ordeal and until 1906 attended Milwaukie School, which sat on the same block as present-day City Hall, where Nell would serve Milwaukie for many years. 

After spending the 1908-09 academic year as a student at the Holmes Business College in Portland, Nell launched a 32-year career as a hairstylist primarily in the Portland-Milwaukie area, although she spent some time in Lewiston, Idaho where she owned a beauty salon with one of her sisters. Upon returning to Oregon, Nell lived briefly on a farm in the Tualatin Valley before finally resettling in Milwaukie, where she would live in the original Roberts family home for all but the last two years of her life. 

 By 1936, when her second husband Roy Martin passed away, Nell had been widowed twice and had two sons, Robert A. Tabor and Howard O. Martin. Howard would serve in the United States Air Force, and both sons would remain close to their mother, living in the greater Portland area for most of Nell’s life. 

In 1940, Nell joined her brother Fred, known as Bid, on the ballot as a candidate for the Office of Town Recorder. Bid was running for Mayor. Both Roberts siblings won their elections that year and would serve together at City Hall for most of the next eighteen years, and both would pass away while holding office. As Recorder, Nell was charged with setting up elections and running the polling booths and prior to 1944 performed many duties now assigned to the Municipal Court Judge and City Manager. As Judge during the war years, Nell gained a deep insight into the human emotions of a nation at war and she offered much valuable counsel and understanding to the City’s troubled youth. 

She was always willing to lend a hand to those who came to City Hall looking for assistance. In one instance she went to great lengths, within a matter of hours, to assist a young serviceman about to ship out who was looking for his long-lost mother. Although not able to find his mother, they located his sister and at the Recorder’s request, a member of the Milwaukie Fire Department drove the young man to Oregon City for the brief family reunion. 

Nell’s re-election in 1944 was the last time Milwaukie elected a Recorder, as major changes to the City Charter that same year made the position an appointed one. Nell has the distinction of being the last elected and first appointed Recorder. In addition to her service at City Hall, Nell was very involved in the Milwaukie community as a member of the Milwaukie Historical Society, Milwaukie Friends of the Library, Milwaukie Community Club, Milwaukie Business Women’s Club, Milwaukie Covenant Church, Daughters of the America Legion, she was a Past Royal Matron of Amaranth Clackamas Court 10, a member of Eastern Star Daphne Chapter No. 13, board member of the Milwaukie Pioneer Cemetery and was a member of the Oregon Historical Society. She was active in planning and organizing the Centennial Celebrations for the Milwaukie community in 1950 and for the State of Oregon in 1959, courageously leading the singing the newly adopted and not-well-known state song “Oregon, My Oregon”. In commemoration of the City’s 50th anniversary as an incorporated City, she wrote several articles for local newspapers and alongside brother Bid helped to dedicate the Founders plaque on the Pioneer rock in front of City Hall. And on top of all this, the Oregon City Enterprise-Courier reported in 1953 that she was a good and knowledgeable cook. 

After 16 years serving Milwaukie as Recorder, Ellen Martin had decided it was time to step down, sort of. At the end of 1956 she formally retired as Recorder, and at the same time was appointed by City Manager Earl Burdick to the newly created post of Treasurer-Recorder, essentially becoming the part-time clerk of the City Council. Most saw this as a move to keep Nell around City Hall in a role she loved. At the time, she was quoted by one local paper as saying “a person who is healthy and has two feet and two hands has no reason to say they haven’t anything to do. All they need to do is look around them, and find that there is always work for willing hands.”

Retirement for Nell didn’t mean a life of leisure; it meant doing the work she loved and perhaps less of the other stuff. But by 1957 she had six grandchildren to keep her busy and she still lived in the original Roberts family home on Minthorn Hill, near the intersection of Harrison Street and 42nd Avenue. Although semi-retired, Nell continued her activities as she always had, including her community involvement. 

In 1959 she was awarded the 50-year pin by the Rose City Chapter of the Eastern Star. After seven decades in the same house, in 1962 Nell left her parents’ home and moved into an apartment at 1935 Jefferson Street in downtown Milwaukie. Although she denied having hobbies or collections, she had special bookshelves built to hold and display her impressive collection of historic mementos and souvenirs and she began to paint. She continued to attend all Council meetings – she had attended around 500 by 1966 – and she continued to be active in the community, helping to cut the cake at the 50th anniversary of the Milwaukie Grammar School early in 1966, which turned out to be her final public appearance. 

On March 9, 1966, Nell entered Holladay Park Hospital in Portland due to an attack of influenza. Less than a week later she passed away at 11:30 AM on Monday, March 14, the influenza proving to be the final straw in a series of heart and respiratory troubles. Nell’s sudden death, at the age of 74, moved all of Milwaukie to tears. The original funeral arrangement calling for a ceremony at Peake’s Funeral Home in Milwaukie was quickly moved to the larger Masonic Lodge across Harrison Street from City Hall due to the overwhelming turnout. The pallbearers were “Nell’s Boys”, the Milwaukie police and firemen who would often give her rides home after Council meetings. She was survived by one of her four siblings, Margaret, her two sons, and ten grandchildren. In the 26 years, Ellen Martin served Milwaukie she had become a living legend, the authority on all things Milwaukie past and present. Known to some as the “grand lady of Milwaukie administration” she had made it her business to know the City and its people and was always willing to share her memories. Her collection of photos and other Milwaukie documents were turned over to the Milwaukie Historical Society after she passed away. Never one to sit idle, she was known to be a good conversationalist and was often heard saying “I have no spare time, I just keep busy”, a mantra likely fueled by her belief that “things are bound to get better”, another of her quips. She was remembered by Mayor Bill Hupp as the “feisty” red-head who refused to record parts of Council meetings she didn’t approve of, which, according to Mayor Hupp, caused the Council to record Council meetings.

After a lifetime witnessing the development of a community, Nell certainly had her opinions on the issues facing the City, but ever the optimist, the daughter, and sister of civic leaders, clerk, and recorder of the Council, keeper of Milwaukie history, a legend Nell Martin shall always be. Good, bad, or otherwise, she loved Milwaukie and she believed it had a better tomorrow built on a solid pioneer past. 

STOP 8: 40th & King

King Road

Most comments about King Road say that it was named after Patrick King. Piecing together the history of the road and, especially, proving the reason for the name, however, has proven to be more elusive than finding the family. The following comments are far from complete.

The 1911 Deed for the King property mentions that there was a road already in existence.  According to Clackamas County records, that road was first authorized on April 12, 1887, as the Milwaukie-Sandy Road. It also had the designation of County Road 132. 

The original description of the road (P. 402, Comm. Journal 5) reads: “Commencing at the SE corner of Sec[tion] 29, T[ownship] 1 S[outh], R[ange] 2 E[ast], thence West intersecting the old Mill road at or near the site of Mill No. 3, thence westerly on or near old Mill road by the most practicable route (and not going North of the south boundary of the Hector Campbell land Claim) to the NE corner of the Lot Whitcomb donation claim, thence westerly along the present traveled road until it inters[ects] the Portland road by Packers shop.” Not exactly precise and filled with references to landmarks no longer in existence.

The starting point of the original survey (SE corner of section 29, Township 1 South, Range 2 East) is clear enough. It is the current intersection of SE King Road and SE 82nd Avenue.

According to the simple map attached to the original survey, the road appears to follow the route of the current SE King road and SE Harrison (below SE 32nd) to downtown Milwaukie. The other landmarks noted in the description seem difficult, at best, to determine.

The road ran west to an intersection of the “Old Mill Road at or near the site of Mill No. 3”. 

Surveys done on other portions of roads along with the current SE King road show that the Milwaukie – Sandy Road ran along the same line as the current SE King. (See, for example, the survey in 1908 for Breckley Road (now SE Bell Avenue), SN1908-014 and RD649-P1 and the survey in 1909 for J H C Cook Road (now SE Wichita), SN1909-019, and RD668.P1).

Archived minutes from Milwaukie City Council are a further source of information on the Milwaukie and Sandy Road. Notes from January 14, 1913, and January 17, 1913, show that a portion of the road, most likely that west of 37th, was called King St. as early as 1914. An arc lamp was installed at the corner of King and 32nd (Minutes, Dec. 8, 1914). The Minthorn Springs Water Company (which supplied water to Milwaukie) was instructed to fix leaking pipes on Harrison, King, 34th, and 31st streets (Minutes, July 18, 1916).

However, before 1920, much of what is now SE King Road (east of 37th) was outside of the Milwaukie city limits. A large part of this area was added to Portland in 1890 and called the Minthorn Addition to Portland. Its northern boundary ran east from what is now SE King and 37th to what is now SE King Road and Bell Avenue. At its western end, it was 7 blocks deep, north to south. In most early maps, running all the way up through 1928, the street now known as SE King was called Palm Avenue. South of Palm Avenue, street names were Magnolia (now Lewellyn), Minthorn (now Harrison), Violet (now Jackson), Laurel (now Monroe), Woodard (now Jefferson), King (also called Ansrenssalaar, now Washington), and Euclid (now Adams). It is interesting to note the use of King Street in the Minthorn Addition. Further east in the Addition, there was also a Queen Street (which still exists) and the two streets (King and Queen) ran parallel to each other for a way. No doubt, this King Street had no connection to Patrick King.

Records of Milwaukie City Council meetings show that there was some changing of street names during the teens. For example, there was a petition discussed on Dec. 14, 1915 to change the name of East Monroe back to Laurel Avenue.

The Minthorn Addition to Portland became an official part of Milwaukie on June 1, 1920. County Road 132, as it was referred to in the City Council minutes was one of the boundaries of the included tract. 

The change of Palm Avenue to King Street (as well as many other street names in the Minthorn Addition) was finally ordered by the City of Milwaukie in October, 1934 (Milwaukie Ordinance 345), That Ordinance was enacted in the 1930s, but not recorded until Jun. 5, 1953 in the county Deeds in Book 469, p. 706).  


 – This reference is curious because there is no evidence that King ever extended down to 32nd. Even in the survey of the Milwaukie – Sandy Road in 1877, there is a clear jog in the road over to what is now Harrison at 34th. This reference may simply use a fictional extension of King to establish where on 32nd the light was to be.

– We want to thank David Parker his assistance in digging up and working on some of this information. We share an interest in historical research. Our conversations are always stimulating and his insights have proven immensely helpful.


Urban Forest

Milwaukie is strengthening its roots. Milwaukie is growing its urban canopy, conserving our city’s connection to natural history and planting our way to a better future. The Urban Forest Management Plan, adopted March 2019, is an outline for protecting local trees and managing our urban forest. Local trees provide countless ecosystem services, community benefits, and serve as a valuable climate action tool in the fight against climate change. Managing and conserving trees is essential for the city. The Urban Forest Management Plan explores why trees matter to Milwaukie and details how we’re going to expand canopies around the city with help from our government, businesses, and community.

Urban Forest Management Plan Strategy

The Urban Forest Management Plan defines several goals, policies, and actions that are crucial to maximizing the benefits of Milwaukie’s trees and for meeting Milwaukie’s climate goals outlined in the Climate Action Plan.

To guide the protection and management of our urban forest, this plan identifies six goals:

  1. Forest size: Foster urban forest growth to achieve 40% canopy coverage by 2040 and sustain that level through time (in alignment with Milwaukie’s Climate Action Plan).
  2. Forest health: Maintain trees in a healthy condition through good practices.
  3. Age and species diversity: Manage the urban forest for a diversity of ages and species.
  4. Street tree management: Manage street trees appropriately to maximize benefits and minimize hazards and conflicts with infrastructure.
  5. Centralized urban forest management: Identify efficiencies and coordination opportunities in the city’s role as manager of the urban forest.
  6. Outreach and stewardship: Foster community support for the local urban forestry program and encourage good tree management on privately-owned properties.

Why Create a Forest Management Plan?

Trees are a valuable resource, especially in an increasingly urbanized environment. This Urban Forest Management Plan will help guide the future management of Milwaukie’s urban forest as the valuable community resource it is. Benefits of healthy urban trees include:

  • Ecosystem Services 
  • Air quality
  • Water quality
  • Soils
  • Habitat
  • Community and Recreational Value
  • Historical value
  • Economic value
  • Greenspaces for recreation
  • Health benefits
  • Climate Actions
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Climate adaptations
STOP 9: 40th & Harvey

City of Milwaukie Building

 On the corner of 40th and Harvey, you will discover a series of buildings and a big round dome. The 40th and Harvey property has been several things over the years… It was acquired in the 1940s by City of Milwaukie for use as the public works yard. Then, in the 1950s/1960s that fire house was built and it served as such for at least a couple decades; it was definitely out of use by 1996 when Milwaukie Fire merged with Clackamas Fire. In the 1980s, the city bought the Johnson Creek Building property and moved public works there, so 40th and Harvey was mostly vacant by the time that the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District (NCPRD) was formed in the early 1990s and for the first few years of that agency’s life it used those facilities as their maintenance yard; NCPRD used the city’s Bertman House located next door to Milwaukie Museum as offices. Eventually, NCPRD moved to Oregon City and the city has used it for storage – of fleet/public works stuff and library books for the Friends of the Ledding Library ever since. The first house is now a public works shop.  


Ah Bing Alongside Dorothy and Hurtis Hadley Mural

From November 2020 Milwaukie Pilot

Celebrating two momentous – yet often overlooked – pieces of Milwaukie’s history, the mural at the intersection of SE 40th Ave and Harvey St., kitty-corner from Water Tower Park, highlights Ah Bing alongside Dorothy and Hurtis Hadley.

Ah Bing was a foreman who worked in Seth Lewelling’s orchards, managing more than 30 workers. While working on the Lewelling farm, Ah Bing cultivated the Bing cherry. As the story goes, one day Seth Lewelling and Ah Bing walked through some rows of cherry trees where each man maintained separate seedlings. In Ah Bing’s Seth found that he had developed a new type of cherry. Someone suggested to Seth that he name the cherry after himself, however, Lewelling declined. He said he would name it after Bing because “it’s a big cherry and Bing’s big and it’s in his row, so that shall be its name.” By all accounts, Ah Bing stood more than six feet tall. Unfortunately, most of Ah Bing’s history has been lost, but much of what is known was recorded by Florence Ledding. While working in Milwaukie, Bing’s wife and children remained in China. In 1889 or 1890, Bing returned to China to see his family, however, he was never able to return to the United States due to the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Hurtis and Dorothy Hadley operated Milwaukie Pastry Kitchen in downtown Milwaukie in the 1970’s and early 80’s. This was the first Black-owned bakery, not only in Milwaukie, but in the entire state. Hurtis was the first Black person to be accepted into Oregon’s three-year baker’s technology and apprenticeship program, and after graduating – a full year early – he became the first Black state-certified journeyman baker as well. Hurtis later went on to become the bakery manager and trainer for the Oregon division of Albertsons.

The mural was commissioned by the Milwaukie Arts Committee and created by Jeremey Okai Davis using funds allocated to the committee by City Council as part of the committee’s goal to increase public art. 

To learn more about the Hadley’s visit Stop 1


Water Tower Park

 The story of Water Tower Park starts with a 1962 Warranty Deed – Real Estate Partial Payments Contract. Water Tower Park; 40th and Harvey; Groverland.  (*There is no direct connection saying that this is the time when the actual water tower was constructed but is probably somewhere around there.)  We do know that there was not an existing park on this site until the spring of 1983.

Going back a few steps, the idea of a park on the Water Tower site started in 1977 at a Neighborhood Council #2 (now the Ardenwald/Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association (AJCNDA)) meeting. “Dick Wilmot, City Park Supt., spoke about preliminary plans for water tower land and described the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation (BOR) funding system. He showed site plans of water tower and of North Clackamas Park. Need ideas on water tower park from this area (the residents). He said BOR more likely to approve regional facilities, large concepts in recreation.”

The PARC’s (which was the Parks and Recreation Commission, now our current Milwaukie Parks and Recreation Board) “Bill Roth briefly explained a plan with an area for toddlers and a covered area for basketball hoops for the water tower property in Neighborhood Council #2…” A plan for Water Tower Park was shown, and cost estimate was discussed. It was suggested that the Neighborhood Council be asked to help erect the play equipment both to help save costs and to get the community involved. The plan was to be sent to Neighborhood Council #2 for their review and approval.”

Neighborhood Council #2 General Meeting & Picnic: “Plans for the water tower park site were discussed.” Lists priorities for the site.  9.6.77. City Council Meeting: “Neighborhood Council #2 has written a memo dated August 19 regarding the Water Tower Park site.  9.21.77 Neighborhood Council #2 agrees to help with Water Tower Park.  10.6.77 PARC Pacific Northwest Bell Company also to help with Water Tower Park.

 PARC Monies now arrived for completion of current phase l of Water Tower Park. On 4.1.80 at PARC an outline of Water Tower Park development in the future was discussed briefly and PARC construction plans for Water Tower Park are complete.  “Construction began with rough grading completed, paving is in and work being done on driveways, one more week and landscaping will begin, and Phase l will be complete including paths, playground, irrigation, and turf.  Phase ll will have sidewalks, ramps, playground equipment, fencing, and final landscaping. The $7,000 HUD grant is contingent on matching funds. Grant to Land and Water Conservation Funds was submitted.  Project finished 9th out of 48 state projects and if/when funds are allocated, project has a good chance of funding.”  In Aug 81 “Despite a good effort by staff, the Water Tower Park project was not funded.  Only the first four projects were funded.  In Oct. 81 grant monies were approved for completion of Water Tower Park, $11,825 was authorized from the Land & Water Conservation Fund.

On 8.23.82 at PARC the playground equipment for Water Tower Park is discussed, and by Jan of 83, designed by Ray Bartel, a concrete slab in the park will be utilized and accidents/hazards minimized.  The slab will have a lattice-work ladder to climb to the top of the play structure, and a cushioning surface added under the firepole.  This phase of the park was built in the spring of 1983 funded by HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and a matching grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. By 12.2.97 the Comprehensive Plan update voted in by the council included Water Tower Park.

Skipping ahead to the 2000s, Water Tower Park continues to serve the AJCNDA community and the citizens of Milwaukie.  Numerous events such as Arbor Day celebrations, Earth Day celebrations, bicycle-friendly Car Free Sunday events, and everyday use by all generations continue to make Water Tower Park a special place to visit.  Greenspace, even under a water tower that might have been overlooked, has been turned into a great place for people of all ages to play, relax, or just appreciate the outdoors. Thanks to great thinking over 43 years ago, people now can be thankful that thoughtful people, looking to utilize all spaces, chose to create a green space where public utilities dwell. 

STOP 10: 42nd & Harvey

 Air Raid Tower

Near the corner of Drake and 42nd stood a warning system. The warning system was commanded by Amy Smith, Chief Observer, and involved at least 140 Milwaukie residents. The residents, mostly women, were assigned a very important task. They were called Air Warning Service Observers (AWS), the eyes and ears of the Army Air Force.

During World War II the threat of enemy planes coming from the East was so great, the Army created a series of civilian watchtowers. A total of 13 in Clackamas County. This one was called Milwaukie Post. Civilians were asked to staff the towers 24 hours a day and identify planes as they flew overhead. What happened if an enemy plane was spotted? Sirens would sound and then people should evacuate to either the middle floors of a building or lay on the ground, turn on your radio, and keep away from windows. If the siren came in the night, turn off all lights and shut the curtains.

Milwaukie Air Raid Tower at Drake & 42nd Ave

County Road #173

42nd Ave originally known as County Road #173.  This road runs north and south to bisect the townships of 1s1e and 1s2e.  In the area of Gloverland platting, the road was named Fredonia 

Ave in honor of Armstrong Glover’s wife.  This stretched from current Covell Street to Harvey Ave.  The area north of this was known as 41 Street.  In 1975 Milwaukie had a project to consolidate some localized addresses and street names to match up with Portland and the read was changed officially to 42nd Ave.  

Safe Access for Everyone

Safe Access for Everyone (SAFE) is the city’s program to improve safety for people walking, biking, and more. SAFE calls for upgrading the city’s network of connections, such as sidewalks, ramps, and crossings to fill network gaps, replace portions that don’t meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, and remove barriers for people to get where they need to go safely.  

Over the past few years, staff worked with community members to identify where mobility improvements are needed most. Now, a project team is getting started on the design and construction of these important projects.

42nd Ave

This project is located on SE 42nd Avenue, between Johnson Creek Boulevard and Harvey Street, and will include:

  • Reconstructing portions of the sidewalk and ramps for ADA Accessibility
  • The existing sidewalks are not ADA compliant for the entire project length, from Johnson Creek Boulevard to Harvey Street. To create an ADA-compliant route, portions of the existing sidewalk on the west side of the street are being replaced. The existing sidewalk on the east side of the street will not be repaired for ADA compliance during this project. The west side was chosen for the ADA-compliant route as ADA barriers on the east side of the street are predominantly utility poles. Private property easements would be needed to relocate the poles to the back of the walk.
  • Adding bike symbols
  • Water system improvements
  • Replacing a sewer pipe on SE 42nd Avenue from Fieldcrest Avenue to Olsen Street

Phase 1 Projects

Over the next three years, the city plans to complete 11 of the projects included in the SAFE program priority plan developed by the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC). In 2019, the Sellwood SAFE Project, Ardenwald Elementary School SAFE Project, and safety improvements at the intersection of SE Linwood and Monroe Avenues will be completed.

Performance Measures

The following goals and metrics help the project team gauge the responsiveness and overall success of the SAFE program. In Phase 1, the city is measuring:

  • Linear feet of sidewalks and paths added
  • Number of students attending school within 1/2 mile of completed SAFE project
  • Number of trees preserved
  • Number of trees planted
  • Number of public engagement opportunities
  • Percent of Phase 1 projects completed

Program Background

The Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), which includes representatives from each Neighborhood District Association (NDA), was formed and developed a priority plan over the course of 11 public meetings within a year timeline. PSAC members contributed to the Priority Corridor Map by:

  • Identifying locations within each NDA that had crucial ADA requirements
  • Identifying additional priority corridors, including Safe Routes to Schools
  • Comparing the corridors with the adopted master plans, as well as past efforts

Why Are SAFE Projects Needed?

Word is out that Milwaukie is a great place to live, so the community is growing—and that means more people using city roads. More motor traffic can erode safety for people who are not in cars. That includes kids, people walking dogs or running errands, and those who use mobility devices. Preserving safety by completing connections, such as sidewalks, ramps, and crossings, is the right thing to do, and it’s also required by federal ADA laws. These connections serve everyone in Milwaukie—to reach a neighbor’s house, a school or a coffee shop, or even doctors.  

STOP 11: 42nd & Howe

Gloverland Plat

 In 1908 Armstrong and Fredonia Glover purchased acreage from Daniel and Marie Wennerberg. In April 1910, E. A. Middlebrook surveyed and platted this space. It is composed of 7 areas or blocks creating 53 lots. Bordered on the west by Chicago Street (now known as 40th Ave), on the north by Covell Ave (extending east), on the east by the lots east of the Arden/Rockwood combination and on the south by mostly Howe Street. There is a section that is south of Howe Street between 40th and 42nd that goes past Harvey Ave.

Gloverland Plat


Lewelling NDA

Named for historical Milwaukie figure Seth Lewelling (whose last name enjoyed several different spellings), the Lewelling Neighborhood is one of Milwaukie’s largest. Because it adjoins unincorporated properties on the east side of Milwaukie, Lewelling is one of few local neighborhoods that is outwardly expanding.

Neighborhood District Associations (NDAs) are city-sanctioned entities through which people in the neighborhood can gather, socialize and share ideas or concerns. Lewelling residents have a history of activism on city projects and programs. These include such things as the major overhaul of Milwaukie’s Comprehensive Plan and land-use regulations. Other topics that are frequently discussed at NDA meetings include traffic concerns and planned infrastructure improvements — especially transportation improvements in or near the neighborhood.

  Often, NDA members work together on projects of civil importance. For instance, since the construction of Ball-Michel Park, outdoor concerts have been held on each Wednesday evening in August. Donations received at summer concerts have gone to Rowe Middle School’s “Food for Success” program, helping to make sure that no students have to face a school day hungry. Unfortunately, because of Covid-19, 2020 was not a time for large crowds to gather in the park. That year, the Lewelling NDA sponsored a city-wide virtual concert series, Porchfest Milwaukie 2020. If successful, Porchfest will likely be held again in future years, probably in conjunction with a live summer concert series. 

For more than 20 years, the Lewelling NDA has sponsored a “Winter Solstice” event at Milwaukie Bay Park. Hugely successful when the weather is mild, the NDA has raised funds by selling food and desserts to large numbers of people who turn out to see the Portland Christmas Ships on the Willamette River. 

STOP 12: 9580 SE 42nd

Plimpton Plat

 This property was originally known as Plimpton Tracts and was surveyed in Feb 1924 by Beasley & Stroehr of Portland Ore; the land was owned by Ortley and Phoebe Plimpton.  The plat consists of 4 areas or blocks containing 51 lots.  Block 3 lot 5 is the largest one where the original Plimpton home still stands.  The plat is bordered on the east by 41st Street (now known as 42nd Ave.), on the south by Gloverland Plat, on the west to approximately the 3700 block of Olsen Ave, and on the north by the lots on the north side of Olsen.

Plimpton Plat


Queen Anne Style Home

9580 SE 42nd Ave, Milwaukie, OR

This 1,800 sqft 3 bedrooms, 1 bath home was built before 1900 and is a perfect example of a Queen Anne Vernacular.

Queen Anne style buildings in the United States came into vogue during the 1880s, replacing the French-derived Second Empire as the ‘style of the moment’. The popularity of the high Queen Anne style waned in the early 1900s, but some elements continued to be found on buildings into the 1920s, such as the wrap-around front porch (often L-shaped).

Distinctive features of the American Queen Anne style may include: asymmetrical façade, dominant front-facing gable (often cantilevered beyond the plane of the wall below), overhanging eaves, round, square, or polygonal towers, shaped and Dutch gables, a porch covering part or all of the front façade, including the primary entrance area, a second-story porch or balconies, pedimented porches, differing wall textures, such as patterned wood shingles shaped into varying designs, including resembling fish scales, terra cotta tiles, relief panels, or wooden shingles over brickwork, etc.. Other features include dentils, classical columns, spindle work, oriel and bay windows, horizontal bands of leaded windows, monumental chimneys, painted balustrades, wooden or slate roofs, and front gardens with wooden fences.

Example of Queen Anne Architecture

STOP 13: 42nd & Olsen

Plimpton House

9405 SE 42nd Ave, Milwaukie, OR

Ortley Plimpton built the Craftsman style home on the corner of 42nd and Olsen for himself and his wife Phoebe Cole Plimpton (Her family home, the Cole House, is on Stop 20). The home has four stories and is approximately 4,800 sq ft. The main floor has a large living room and a dining room with the original pocket doors. A room off the dining room was originally a music room but is now used as a den. The home’s French front doors lead to an entry hall that opens to the living room, dining room, and a stairway to the second floor.

There are three bedrooms and a full bath upstairs, as well as a room that was probably a sun porch or sleeping porch. The attic is unfinished but very large and was almost certainly used by earlier families. The home retains its original laundry chute and dust chute, as well as a dumbwaiter that leads from the basement to the kitchen.  


 Silas and Lydia Plimpton

In 1890 Silas and Lydia Plimpton moved to a small farm in Willsburg near Milwaukie, where they lived out their lives.  Their son Ortley married Phoebe Cole in 1899 where they farmed the land. Phoebe may be Milwaukie’s most beloved historian.  She wrote and researched many of the history we use as references today. The accounts include: Ardenwald Church, Ardenwald School, Milwaukie, and Clackamas County cemeteries, Milwaukie Centennial Days, Milwaukie Community Club, Lot Whitcomb, and Willsburg.

Ortley and Pheobe Plimpton

STOP 14: 42nd & Fieldcrest

Fieldcrest Plat

In 1958 Zonald/Patricia Wills (Wells), Karl/Rose Unitinon (nee Ellison), and Fred Weber had around 16 acres platted to create 40 lots. 

Fieldcrest Tract Map, circa 1958


Wells Airport

For 40 years local hardware store owner Zon Wells maintained an airstrip within Milwaukie known as Wells Field, or sometimes known as Wills Field. The dirt field ran east to west along Fieldcrest Street with a drop-off at 42nd Avenue. In its heyday, the “short field” was home to about 10 private planes that could transport a resident of Milwaukie to downtown Portland in minutes. Wells (Wills) Field was sold and developed into housing in the 1960s. 

Safe Landing-Plane at Wills Airfield

STOP 15: 42nd & Roswell

Mason House

8835 SE 42nd Ave

The original Mason Family homestead covered 100 acres. It was settled by Yence and Mary Mason. The homestead was bordered by Johnson Creek on the north and spread into Mason Lane and Fieldcrest area on the south and east. The Mason’s chose this hilly site because it reminded them of the hills of their homeland in Norway. The property was one of the largest fruit orchards in the area; the orchard was surrounded by Italian-owned vegetable farms.

The Mason home and barn were built by Yence and Mary’s son Jelmer and his wife Florence Jennings Mason in 1923. Florence Jennings uncle founded Jennings Lodge. Florence and Jelmer were apple and flower bulb growers until sometime in the 1950’s. They shipped plants, bulbs, filberts, apples, cut flowers, and holly wreaths to the East Coast and California. Their property was 10 acres. 


 First Orchard in Oregon

In the summer of 1847, Mr. Henderson Luelling left Salem, Iowa, and brought across the plains several hundred yearlings grafted sprouts of apple, pear, cherry, plum, prune, peach, grape, and berries; a full assortment of all the fruits grown in the then far West. These were placed in soil in two large boxes made to fit into a wagon bed and carefully watered and tended on the long and hazardous six-month journey with an ox team, traveling thousands of miles to the banks of the Willamette just north of the little town of Milwaukie.

Here a little patch in the dense fir forest was cleared away with great labor and expense, and the first Oregon orchard was set that autumn with portent more significant for the luxury and civilization of this country than any laden ship that ever entered the mouth of the Columbia. A fellow traveler, William Meek, had also brought a sack of apple seed and a few grafted trees; a partnership was formed and the firm of Luelling & Meek started the first nursery in 1848. 

STOP 16: 42nd & Roswell

 Maplecrest Plat

In 1955 a piece of land where Wake St ended (heading east from 36th Ave) was platted by John/Mary Dollansky and Richard/Marjorie Nase.  This added 20 lots in the current cul-de-sac, up SE Wake, and along SE 39th.  

 Maplecrest Plat, circa 1955


Garner Acres Plat

W.A. Garner gained possession of this tract of land from Annie Olsen (widow of J. Olsen) prior to 1923.  In 1923 the land was broken into 20 lots on ‘blocks’.  There are earlier surveys that show this property as orchards.

Garner Acres Plat, circa 1923


STOP 17: 43rd & Johnson Creek

Davis Graveyard

Since 2001, the Davis family has created a creepy yard haunt that has attracted people from all over the Portland area. Their 1930s-era home, located at the corner of Johnson Creek Boulevard and SE 43rd Avenue, exhibits the usual haunted graveyard theme. The yard display, which is mentioned in the Chiller-network documentary “American Scream,” features a mausoleum, several monuments, and a larger ruined abbey display. Visit for more current photos. They have added a few new monuments, including an eternal flame and Celtic cross. 

 Nearly every prop is handmade by local artists. Making Halloween their passion, the Davises have even helped other homeowners to design and create their own creepy yard scenery, doing business under the name Davis Graveyard Productions to build elaborate Halloween-themed sets. They have presented standing-room-only seminars at the annual HAuNTcon and West Coast Haunters conventions and they have won an international Yard Haunt video award.

During the Halloween season, the display is available for viewing daily with lights coming on at dusk until 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The effects (sound, video, fog, and animations) are on from dusk until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and until 10 p.m. Sunday.

Watch the video at


Derry Acres Farmhouse

At 4340 SE Johnson Creek Blvd sits the Derry Acres Farmhouse built in 1910. This property was part of George Will’s original land claim. Later it was part of Derry Acres, an early development on SE Johnson Creek Blvd.

While tearing out rotted walls and crumbling fireplace bricks, the owners found a fireplace tile with a letter “D” on it and newspapers in the walls dating to 1904-1905. An owner believes that the house was built in sections – a room at a time. The home sits on .81 acres; at the top there was a lawn that their sheep used to ‘mow’.  

 Derry Acres Plat

In 1924 Lillian Derry broke the 20+ acres into 4 Blocks creating 38 lots.  Bordered by SE 42nd on the west and SE Johnson Creek on the north it moves along current day SE Roswell to the dead end.  Originally this street was to be named Derry Ave.


English Manor

At 4305 SE Johnson Creek Blvd sits an English Manor house built in 1929. This home sits on over half an acre and has 3,769 sqft of living space. Rumor has it that the builder built it with the intention to use it as a funeral home though it has never been used for that purpose.

One of the owners dug up a dry well and found a china teacup and various old medicine bottles. The property includes formal gardens and a small pool. 

STOP 18: 3635 SE Johnson Creek

Johnson Creek Blvd.

Some of the earliest maps show that SE Johnson Creek Blvd was originally named Mills Creek because it flowed past the mill. Later it was named Johnson Creek by United States Army Surveyors after William Johnson, an original settler on the Mount Scott Donation Land Claim. People who were trying to give streets and road names authenticity looked at original land claims for names. SE Johnson Creek Blvd, originally a First Peoples trail, was later called Mill Rd, then Willsburg Rd, then finally to its present name.  

Learn More…   Go to stop #00 to learn more about Donation Land Claims and see an original map of Milwaukie with its Donation Land Claims.


 Tideman Johnson House

At 3635 SE Johnson Creek Blvd sits the Tideman Johnson house built in 1912. Tideman Johnson and his wife, Olava, purchased the property from Jacob Wills after the death of George Wills in 1880. 

The Tideman Johnson land extended from SE Roswell St across SE Johnson Creek Blvd and from SE 36th Ave to SE 42nd Ave. While the craftsman bungalow was being built, the Johnson’s lived in a house across the road. The elder Johnsons died before they could live in their new home.

Tideman Johnson House today

Their son Telmer inherited the house. Telmer died in 1940 leaving the house and land to his son Kenneth. Telmer stipulated that all but 8 acres of the land should be sold off, and the land north of SE Johnson Creek Blvd should be deeded to the city for a park to be named after his father. The family had set a fine example of stewardship on their remaining 8 acres, as well as on the ecology of the Johnson Creek watershed all along its reach.

Tideman Johnson House today

STOP 19: 36th & Johnson Creek

Tideman Johnson Park

Tideman Johnson City Park consists of just over 7 acres of natural area. It can be accessed directly from the Springwater Corridor and it can be a nice stop along the 40-mile loop. The park is a noted destination for bird watching, as the locations attracts bushtits, chickadees, grosbeaks, herons, kingfishers, mourning doves, owls, pigeons, sapsuckers, warblers and woodpeckers. In addition to the bird population, Johnson Creek carries more than 20 different species of fish, including Chinook salmon and steelhead trout.

The park is named for an early pioneer family that owned land encompassing the area; the Johnson family often shared its land for recreational use and holiday celebrations. The site was donated to the City of Portland in 1940.  


Dana Beck, a writer from the Sellwood Bee in 2010, sums up Willsburg well:

The town of Willsburg was laid out by George and his son Jacob in 1870 – about twelve years before that rising community to the west, Sellwood, was established.

Arriving from Oskaloosa, Iowa, via the Oregon Trail in 1847, the Wills family laid claim to 1,280 acres of land, which included much of today’s Eastmoreland neighborhood, southward past Johnson Creek and today’s Tacoma Street, into parts of today’s City of Milwaukie.

Father and son built a dam 10 feet high on the headwaters of Johnson Creek. Partnering with Edward Long (son-in-law to George), they erected a sawmill, securing an iron planer that was shipped around the cape of South America.

By 1849 the Mill was supplying lumber for the thousands of gold-miners camped in Northern California – shipped to them aboard vessels tied up at the wharf near the town of Sellwood, according to Seth Wills’ interview with Fred Lockley, noted columnist of the now-defunct Oregon Journal newspaper.

The industrious pair persuaded the Oregon-California Railway, Portland’s first railroad connecting to San Francisco, to pass through Willsburg in 1868. Once Willsburg became a regular stop on the railroad, its importance escalated, as companies like the Shindler Furnishings Factory could transport their wares cheaply to the west side of the river.

Lumber from The Wills’ sawmill, and bricks from their brick factory, could also now be hauled along the rails instead of by boat or wagon. That factory, built in 1889, provided many of the bricks used in the construction of homes on the west side of Portland – and the raising of Park High School, downtown Portland’s first high school. The brick factory operated for about nine years.

When the great fire in August of 1873 swept through downtown Portland, Gabriel Shindler’s furniture store was among those buildings reduced to ashes. Gabriel purchased a small furniture factory managed by Lewelling and Beard near Willsburg, close to the knitting mills, which were probably part of the Multnomah Mohair Mills.

The Shindler factory produced chairs, tables, and bedroom furniture that customers could buy at their showroom on S.W. First Street and Salmon. They also supplied furnishings for schools, hotels, and offices, made from Oregon ash and maple trees – sending them to purchasers in The Dalles, Lewiston, and as far away as San Francisco.

A Post Office was established in Willsburg on January 15th, 1883, run by Postmaster Jacob F. Rhodes. It operated in the community for 17 years, until it was deemed no longer feasible to be kept open. Willsburg also supported one of the Northwest’s largest textile industries – the Oregon Worsted Company – beginning in 1917. Approached by local business supporters, Roy T. Bishop converted the vacant Willis Mohair Mills’ buildings into Oregon Worsted, which provided work for over 300 employees.

Worried that her children had to walk miles to attend school in Milwaukie, Jacob’s wife, Lorana Wills, donated land on which a new school could be built. The first meeting for Willsburg School was held at Jacob Wills’ cabin in 1877, where community leaders gathered to decide on the conditions and taxes appropriate to support a school.

Located on 1¾ acres, on a hill overlooking Johnson Creek, the schoolhouse was built with lumber cut at the Wills’ sawmill. It opened with fifteen students attending classes taught by Miss Amy Kerns.

Students attended Willsburg School until 1911 – at which time, according to documents collected at the Milwaukie Museum, all the ‘land, buildings, furniture and records were turned over to the City of Portland’. Portland agreed to take over the teachers’ contracts, and also permitted Willsburg students to attend school free of tuition.

By the 1920’s students of the closing Willsburg School were absorbed into the classrooms at Ardenwald and Duniway Elementary Schools.

Willsburg lost much of its support when George Wills died in 1888. His son Jacob soon followed him to the grave, meeting his demise on April 27th, 1891. Half of their property was sold to private investors, and the remaining land was divided among family members.

Sellwood resident Whitfield A. Smith, a retired minister and researcher of Willsburg history, wrote in THE BEE on February 24th, 1994: ‘The people living in that portion [of] … Multnomah County voted to be annexed into Portland on November 8, 1910, and officially became part of the city July 1st, 1911.’

As a result, gone are the streets of Wills and Willsburg – replaced by Sherrett and 32nd Streets, respectively. Forgotten are the Shindler Factory, the Willsburg School, and the people and merchants who lived and did business in the pioneering and important town of Willsburg.

STOP 20: 3436 Johnson Creek

Cole House

At 3436 SE Johnson Creek Blvd. sits the Cole House built in 1865. In 1877 Mary H. and Edwin Cole bought 30 acres from Jacob Wills. They used the Hard Shell Baptist Church that Reverend George Wills had built on the land as a home for their large family. The land around the home was a sheep farm. 

Relatives of the Coles built the current home immediately to the west of the church. This is where Phoebe Cole grew up. She married Ortley Plimpton in 1899.

Learn More…   Go to stop #13 to learn more about the Coles.

STOP 21: Tacoma Street

Portland Traction Company

The Springwater Corridor below you did not start out as a walking path, but as an electric railway line or trolley line. In fact Bell Station, now a mini mart, was one of the major stops along the trolley line.

In 1951 “Electric Railroads” magazine deemed the Railway and Terminal Division of the Portland Traction Company “one of the most progressive interurban lines in the United States today.” At that time, the Railway and Terminal Division operated on 33 miles of track and ran an extensive freight service as well as a profitable interurban passenger service on two lines.

Electric powered Interurban passenger rail got its start here in 1892, when the East Side Railway Company constructed the first long-distance interurban passenger line on a sixteen mile route between Portland and Oregon City. In 1905 the line was extended eastward to Gresham, Boring, Estacada and Cazadero. In 1911 another line to the north was pushed through Gresham and on to Bull Run.

By 1906 the entire system of streetcar lines and interurbans had been consolidated into one company called Portland Railway, Light and Power Company. It operated a total of 28 streetcar lines. During the heyday of interurban operations, the company had as many 254 trains running daily on all of its lines.

By the 1920s the company, now called Portland Electric Power Company (PEPCO), was losing riders to the rising popularity of the automobile. In 1930, after steady declines in ridership, passenger service to Bull Run was discontinued. In 1932, passenger service on the Estacada line was cut back to Gresham. By 1938 passenger and freight business had fallen off to the point where the company felt it necessary to petition for complete abandonment of the lines to Gresham and Oregon City. Passengers, shippers and Pepco’s 90 employees joined forces to resist the closures. Passengers agreed to ride more often, shippers pledged to ship more goods and Pepco employees agreed to accept a portion of their wages in promissory notes. At the end of a 90 day trial period the results of these efforts coupled with schedule and fare adjustments improved the financial picture and the lines continued operating.

 Soon after, six high-speed suburban cars from the Indiana Railroad were purchased and put into service on the Oregon City lines. With the acquisition of these new cars, the company changed its color scheme from maroon and cream to blue and cream. Later, another change was made to orange and cream.

During World War II, ridership grew due to increased shipyard activity and wartime rationing. The number of cars increased from 8 to 15, with a total of 22 cars available for service.

In 1947, three Master Units were purchase from the Yakima Valley Transportation Co. and immediately put to work. By 1951 all city streetcar operations had been abandoned, but Portland Traction’s two remaining interurban lines were still profitable. Those lines were to continue operating until January 1958, when the last of the electric powered rail passenger routes were abandoned.  

Springwater Corridor

 The Springwater Corridor is the major southeast segment of the 40-Mile Loop which was inspired by the 1903 Olmsted plan of a parkway and boulevard loop to connect park sites. The eventual developed trail will be over 21 miles long.

For the most part, the trail is well separated from the public road. The route is a scenic one, encompassing wetlands, buttes, agricultural fields and pastures, residential and industrial neighborhoods. Close to Johnson Creek, one of the last free-flowing streams in Portland’s urban area, the trail crisscrosses the stream on its course to the Willamette River. The Corridor connects several parks and open spaces including Tideman Johnson Nature Park, Beggars-tick Wildlife Refuge, the I-205 Bike Path, Leach Botanical Garden, Powell Butte Nature Park, and Gresham’s Main City Park.

The Springwater Corridor is a multi-use trail. The paved surface is generally 10-12 feet wide with soft shoulders. The hard surface trail is designed to accommodate walkers, joggers, hikers, bicycles, wheelchairs, and strollers. Equestrian use is more common east of I-205 where a separate soft surface path meanders away from the main trail where topography allows.

 Most of the wildlife found along the Corridor are those species capable of co-existing with humans. Common species include crow, robin, starling, song sparrow, Bewick’s wren, house finch, cedar waxwing, violet-green swallow, belted kingfisher, great blue heron, mallard, wood duck, bushtit, black-capped chickadee, raccoon, opossum, nutria, and mole species. Less developed areas support greater diversity, including black-tailed deer, coyote, deer mouse, vole, bat, western fly-catcher, black-headed grosbeak, orange-crowned warbler, common merganser, and woodpecker. Mountain lions have been sighted.

Himalayan blackberry used to dominate much of the Springwater landscape. It is a non-native plant and so invasive that it chokes out native plants. Over a decade of projects have helped control invasive plants and improve wildlife habitat. Look beneath the PGE transmission lines for new plantings of native shrubs and small trees such as red-osier dogwood, elderberry, Indian plum, and willow. Some of the adjacent natural areas such as Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and Beggars-tick Wildlife Refuge feature a wide variety of habitats including open water, shrub/scrub marsh, cattail/smartweed marsh, and forested wetland; Powell Butte Nature Park features open meadow with stands of orchard trees and forested slopes below; and Tideman Johnson Natural Area contains a small riparian woodland.

Johnson Creek and the Springwater Corridor are intertwined, with at least 10 trail bridges over the creek. The creek was once host to abundant native fish populations, including threatened salmon species. Following a series of floods in the mid-1990s, the City of Portland began acquiring properties in the Johnson Creek floodplain. Protected as natural areas, these properties provide flood storage, wildlife habitat, and opportunities for wildlife observation along the Corridor. Ongoing streambank restoration will improve habitat and water quality for threatened fish species.  

STOP 22: Tacoma Street

George Wills Donation Land Claim

Number 58/42 William and wife Sarah Jane 640 acres

The Donation Land Claim Act of 1850, sometimes known as the Donation Land Act, [1] was a statute enacted in late 1850 by the United States Congress. It was intended to promote homestead settlements in the Oregon Territory. The law, a forerunner of the later Homestead Act, brought thousands of white settlers into the new territory, swelling the ranks of settlers traveling along the Oregon Trail. A total of 7,437 land patents were issued under the law, which expired in late 1855.

The passage of the law was largely due to the efforts of Samuel R. Thurston, the Oregon territorial delegate to Congress.[4] The act, which became law on 27 September 1850, granted 320 acres (1.3 km2) of designated areas free of charge to every unmarried white male citizen eighteen years old or older and 640 acres (2.6 km2) to every white married couple arriving in the Oregon Territory before 1 December 1850.[5] In the case of a married couple, the husband and wife each owned half of the total grant under their own names. The law was one of the first that allowed married white women in the United States to hold property under their own name. [4] “American half-breed Indians” were also eligible for the grant.[6] A provision in the law granted half the amount to those who arrived after the 1850 deadline but before 1854.[6] Claimants were required to live on the land and to cultivate it for four years to own it outright.[5]

The provisional government formed at Champoeg had limited the land claims offered in the hope of preventing land speculation. The Organic Act of the Oregon Territory had granted 640 acres (2.6 km²) to each married couple. [4] The new law voided the previous statutes but essentially continued the same policy and was worded in such a way as to legitimize existing claims. One such claim legitimized by the act was that of George Abernethy, who had been elected to the governorship in the days of the provisional government. His claim became famous for Abernethy Green, where new emigrants camped at the end of the Oregon Trail while seeking a piece of land for themselves.  

Learn More…   Go to stop #00 to learn more about Donation Land Claims and see an original map of Milwaukie with its Donation Land Claims.


Wills House

At 3026 SE Tacoma St. sits the Wills house built in 1896. The house was built by Jacob Wills, the son of George Wills. The two started the town of Willsburg. Jacob Wills died in 1891 and left his estate to his five children. Portions of it were finally foreclosed on and sold in a sheriff’s sale in 1906. The house is now a row house with several apartments and behind the building is a 400-year old tree.  


Kane House

At 3147 SE Tacoma St. sits the Kane house built in 1910. This five-bedroom house is very similar to the Richmond house. It is 21/2 stories tall and has beveled siding. It has a hip roof with wide overhangs. The windows are double-hung with leaded glass. The entrance to the house has sidelights and square posts encircle the large wraparound porch. There is a sleeping porch on the back of the second floor. It is believed that this house was built by the same person who built the Richmond house.

A family member remembers the house had large cherry orchards. There were large tennis courts on the property and corn that grew down to the flat area by Johnson Creek.  


Shaw House

At 2906 SE Tacoma St is the Shaw house built in 1892. It is a classic Old Portland home with leaded glass double hung windows throughout. It has a hip roof with a wide overhang and rafters that are slightly flared. 

The location of the home was originally part of the town of Willsburg. The house is near the site where the first school in Willsburg was built between what is now SE 29th St. and SE Tenino St. in Sellwood.

Hanson Shaw, the homeowner, worked for W.P. Fuller Company which manufactured paints, varnishes, doors, glass, and windows.  

Learn More…   Go to stop #19 to learn more about Willsburg.

STOP 23: 32nd & Sherrett

Cole Addition

 Cole Addition was originally platted in 1954 by the R.C.E Realty and Building Corporation.  In 1957 the land was re-platted.  The Cole name comes from Edwin and Mary Cole who bought the 34 acres from George Wills in 1877.  You can see the Coles Home (built 1889) on Stop 20 — at 3436 SE Johnson Creek Blvd.

Wills Tract

Wills Tract was platted in 1924 by W.E. Wills.  It is built on 4 Blocks and created 31 lots.  

STOP 24: 32nd & Van Water

 Ardenwald Church

 At 3135 SE Van Water St. sits Ardenwald Church built in 1893. The cornerstone was laid on July 14, 1983 and was built by the Shindler Company. The church is 2-1/2 stories tall. The roof is gabled with shiplap and has rake and corner board siding. The church has many elongated windows and a bulls eye window in the gable peak. The steeple was taken down in the 1920’s. Another building was constructed next to the church in 1920 and was used for Sunday school classes. In 1932 it was made into a parsonage or a church house for clergy.

Mrs. Wills donated a corner of her land to build the church in 1892 to be the First Congregational Church in Willsburg. It was remodeled in 1910 and a full basement was added. The church was also rotated to face south, Van Water St, rather than facing 32nd Ave or “Old Milwaukie Road”. 

The church was renamed Ardenwald Congregational Church after town plans for Willsburg collapsed. In the past this church served not only as a place for religious services, but as a gathering place for community activities.

The church was thriving until the 1960s, when the congregation decided to build a new house of worship.

They sold the property to a group of artists who lived and worked on the compound, and exchanged their crafted goods at a market across the street. They glibly called the centerpiece of their art colony the Cream of Mushroom Church.

Today, the four-level building has a kitchen with custom milled cabinets, three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The ground level wood floor has reclaimed planks from a Beaverton gymnasium and there’s a Juliet balcony in the master suite.  


Hager Home and Storefront

At 8605 Se 32nd Ave sits the Hager home and storefront built in 1912. This store was built when SE 32nd Ave was a thriving business area. It has been a grocery store, a one-pump gas station, a lawnmower sales, and repair shop, dry cleaners, and a roofing company.

 Earliest memories of this site describe a grocery store on the main floor with a small soda fountain in it. The store sold fruit and vegetables grown at the farms in the community. In the mid 1920’s a putt-putt golf course was set up in the yard. The course was used until 1935.

Roy Hager from Milwaukee, WI purchased the property in 1930 and ran a dry cleaning business there until 1946. Roy and his wife Clara lived in the second apartment. Hager also ran a small roofing company out of the building.

In the late 1950’s Roy turned the cleaners into Hager’s Lawn and Garden Shop. He sold new lawn and gardening equipment, along with lawn care products and sprays. Roy continued both the lawn and garden shop and the roofing company until his death in 1978.  


Rev George Alvah Rockwood

Reverend Rockwood arrived in Oregon in the 1890’s. He served as a chaplain for the Union Army during the Civil War: 8th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry and is part of the African American Civil War Memorial Plaque Number: A-20. He came to Oregon with a bit of money and lots of plans.

In 1892 Mrs. Wills, wife of Jacob Wills had donated a corner of their land to build the First Congregational Church of Willsburg. Rev Rockwood had already purchased some land from the Mason’s family and became the first pastor for the church. The church still stands at the corner of SE Van Water and SE 32nd.

Rev Rockwood planned to create a town like Garthwick, the area of stately homes between Waverly Golf Course and Sellwood. By 1910 Ardenwald was filled with houses of good quality, but remained mostly wooded and SE 32nd a dirt, muddy, rutted road. Unfortunately, Rev Rockwood never saw his dream come true as he died September 18, 1899 of heart failure. His wife Ellen would name Ardenwald after their son Arden and ‘wald’ which means woods in German.  


Richmond House

 At 8580 SE 32nd Ave stands the Richmond House built in 1910 for a cost of around $3,000.00. This five-bedroom, two-story home has beveled siding and a hip roof with wide overhangs. The entrance to the house has sidelights and square posts supported by stone bases. Family members remember the wide porch as a place where parties overflowed with dancers. There’s a sleeping porch on the second floor.

The home’s original owners, Lena and C.M. Richmond, lived in a two-story well house, that is still in the backyard, while the main house was being constructed. There used to be extensive fruit orchards south of the house, where apples, plums, and Bing cherries grew.

 Lena Richmond was originally Lena Love, daughter of Captain Louis Love who was a riverboat captain on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Captain Love owned a hotel in Portland by the Hawthorne Bridge. Lena married C.M. Richmond, who was the chairman of the Clackamas County Board of Education.


STOP 25: 32nd & Roswell

Ardenwald Plat

 Ardenwald was platted in 1909 by Ellen Rockwood, the widow of Rev. George Arden Rockwell.  The plat consists of 12 Blocks creating 218 Lots.  The original platting had different street names than they do today; the most notable is SE 29th Ave which was known as Ardenwald Street and runs north to meet the Ardenwald trolly stop on the current day Springwater Trail. 

Learn More…   Go to stop #21 to learn about Portland Traction Company


Barbagelata House

At 8730 SE 32nd St sits the Barbagelata House built in 1908. This bungalow has four bedrooms and gabled roofs that extend over the front porch. It has a flared hip roof with scroll cut rafters. The main entrance to the house has an elliptical arch with patterned shingles. The columns on the front of the house are Doric.

This house is on land that was part of George Wills Donation Land Grant. According to the tax code in 1917 Margarita and Giuseppe Barbagelata paid $1,000 for the mortgage on the house and 10 acres of land when the previous owners failed to pay their taxes on the property.

The Barbagelatas had a large Italian style garden and truck farm back in the 1920’s and 1930’s. People from the community would come and buy radishes, onions, turnips, tomatoes, herbs, and other produce. The family also trucked their harvest into Portland to sell.  


Old Downtown Ardenwald

SE 32nd Ave used to be Ardenwald’s business downtown – imagine a walk there when it was a commercial center. On the southeast corner of SE 32nd and SE Wake was a neighborhood grocery store. The owners rented an apartment in what is now known as Aunt Ester’s Eatery. Across the street on the northwest corner of SE Boyd and SE 32nd was a blacksmith shop. 

The Lisac family has been in their present site for many years. At first it was a grocery, then a meat market and now a wood stove/fireplace store. Traveling south on SE 32nd on the southwest corner of SE Malcolm was Renard’s Hardware Store; later the building housed a cabinet shop. Among other businesses on SE 32nd Ave were a gas station, beauty shop, a piano store and an upholstery shop. North of Aunt Ester’s, across the street from the church, was a garden supply shop. Another barber shop was located at the corner of SE 32nd and SE Roswell.  

STOP 26: 32nd & Floss

Floss Acres Plat

 Floss Acres was owned by Liddy Floss.  In 1923 the property was broken up and platted onto 2 Blocks creating 28 Lots. 


Aunt Ester’s Eatery

 At 9002 SE 32nd Ave was Aunt Ester’s Eatery, owned by Ester Reed and her husband Floyd. By all accounts, it was a very good family restaurant. Inside the restaurant was Kriester’s Doughnut Shop. Next door to the south was Verne’s Barber Shop with its original spinning barber pole outside.

Originally the building was a single story. It was purchased by someone who added the second floor with the idea of living there. The spacious upstairs apartment on the southwest corner was the main living quarters. It has a 20×30 ft living room, a kitchen with 45 cupboards and drawers, a formal dining room, three bedrooms, a bath, and hardwood floors. 


Holly Farms

On the south side of SE Floss St (part of Floss Acres), there used to be a large and thriving holly farm.  Around 1911 John (Hans) and Lena Wildy migrated from Switzerland, first to New York and then later to Ardenwald.  In Ardenwald they owned 9 connected lots and planted holly trees.  They built the business with all the family pitching in, cutting, and packing holly to ship around the world.  The Wildy family is still in the neighborhood with the 3rd and 4th generations still living on the land. 


STOP 27: Ardenwald Park & School

Ardenwald Park

Ardenwald Park was originally the site of Dogwood Lodge or the Ardenwald Community Center. It was owned by a group of citizens and was mainly utilized by the Jaycees and the Scouts. It was built in 1956 with the use of donated labor. In May of 1986, Don Graf approached the City of Milwaukie and asked it to take ownership of the Dogwood Lodge and the land it was located on at 3667 SE Roswell Street. The lodge was in a state of disrepair and would need $20,000 to renovate. There was much discussion, but in January 1987 the city took charge of the land and designated PARC (Parks and Recreation Commission) to administer the use of the facility. It was decided to raze the lodge in the summer of 1989 and plant the site with grass-like Stanley Park. By October of that year, Dogwood Lodge had been leveled and clean-up was progressing. Don Graf recommended to the council that the site be turned into a park.

Before the lodge was razed, there was a story that the “King of the Gypsies”* lay in state for 3 days before his burial in the 1970s and that thousands of gypsies from around the world came and paid their respects to him at Dogwood Lodge. (*There is probably a confirmation of this story in one of the local newspapers but did not have time to locate that story. Am reaching out to Steve Johnson for confirmation.) In 1975 it is believed that the “King” died in Kansas and his body was flown back to Portland for burial at Rose City Cemetery.

Ardenwald Park was adopted into the Milwaukie Comprehensive Plan on 2.4.91 and voted in by the council on 3.19.91. Ordinance 1700 from March 1991, which adopted the Ardenwald Park Master Plan, was an implementing document of the Milwaukie Comprehensive Plan. Ardenwald Park became a completed park in October of 1993. (The year in which a statement was found declaring that “the grass on the site was coming in nicely”.) 

Since that date, there have been innumerable events held at this site. It has a band shelter and picnic tables that can be reserved for all types of celebrations by citizens and groups as well as having play equipment for the youngsters to enjoy. It also has ample lawn space for field sports such as soccer, football tossing, or frisbee catching. 

 Currently, in the 2000s, the Ardenwald/Johnson Creek Neighborhood District Association (AJCNDA) holds a free concert series that runs every Thursday evening in the month of August. The concerts were started by Carlotta Collette, AJC chair, then councilwoman, then metro representative, and carried on by Jeff and Chris Davis of Davis Graveyard fame. Every Thursday evening, starting with neighborhood night out (NNO), neighbors gather by the hundreds to enjoy free concerts, ice cream and bouncy house provided by Hope City Church, delicious food from Milwaukie Café, and beverages from The Office. Some of the sponsors for the events, such as Providence Milwaukie Hospital, have come and tabled and have also provided and fitted free bicycle helmets to children in attendance. On NNO representatives from police and fire also attend making the event special for kids of all ages. It is a festive event gathering people together to enjoy summer evenings full of laughter, music, and memory-making.

Ardenwald Park- Photo courtesy of MHS


History of Ardenwald School

Ardenwald Elementary- Photo courtesy of MHS

  The first school district in which the Ardenwald section was included was known as the Willsburg school district No 70. It was organized in 1876 and comprised of the boundary of what is now Woodstock and almost to Reed College on the north, to the Willamette River, now Sellwood on the West, to the Scott and Harvey’s lines toward Milwaukie on the south and including Stanley on the east. 

 Ardenwald School was built on the orthodox plan for schoolhouses of that date, a long room with a row of windows on each side, a type designed to impose the worst possible strain upon the eyes of the pupils, but in vogue throughout the United States.

Miss Amy Kerns was the first school teacher, receiving a salary of $24.50 a month for a term of five months and one week with about 15 pupils in attendance.

The building served the district for about 25 years until 1902. A new two-room schoolhouse was erected and used until 1911, when another schoolhouse was built. By 1923 the school had four teachers and 180 pupils. 

In 1924 Ardenwald School left district 70 and joined Milwaukie district 1. Soon afterward a new schoolhouse and auditorium were built at a cost of $40,000.

In 2008 the newest schoolhouse was completed.

Ardenwald/Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association

In the past, the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association (AJCNDA) has been known by other names: 

1) The Ardenwald District petitioned the City of Milwaukie on 10/13/1931. A petition of 103 voters in the Ardenwald District advised the Council of the City of Milwaukie that they were in favor of annexing the Ardenwald District to Milwaukie. This was read and laid on the table until the next regular Council meeting. 

2) The idea of a park on the Water Tower site started in 1977 at a Neighborhood Council #2 (now the Ardenwald/Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association (AJCNDA)) meeting. 

3) The Ardenwald Neighborhood Association representing District #7, and finally in November of 1994 4) the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood District Association officially representing District #7 as voted on, authorized by council, and officially signed into being by Craig Lomnicki, mayor.

 Ardenwald has some great history mainly because of very community-minded citizens. This is viewed through all the activities that have been organized over the years and the wealth of information provided with influence in planning, organizing, and building this area.

The AJCNDA has always been active in both the Portland and Milwaukie sides of the neighborhood. From work parties improving Tideman-Johnson Park, to several bicycle Sunday car free events with Portland and Milwaukie, Garden tours to raise money for the local Ardenwald Elementary School PTO, an historic home tour where houses in both cities were researched and featured, Clean-up Days at Ardenwald Elementary School in partnership with Wichita Sanitation Services the AJCNDA would have cars and trucks lined up for hours while helpful volunteers would help people unload their unwanted garbage and belongings from their vehicles (became so successful that the City of Milwaukie took over the event and moved it elsewhere), Pajama night in November at Ardenwald Elementary where everyone came in their pajamas to hear the neighborhood chair read a story to the kids and share some hot chocolate, Christmas families where the AJCNDA would donate presents, Christmas potlucks where the neighborhood comes together to share food and make memories, the summer reading program where the Rec Mobile came to Ardenwald Park and kids received free brown bag lunches and 3 books for each child attending were provided through neighborhood grant money, walk to school day when citizens came out as a group on the first day of school and a parade was formed to walk all the kids to the schoolhouse, free concerts in the park every Thursday evening in August, neighborhood night out before the first summer concert we would have a potluck with police and fire representatives attending, the first sustainability tour in the city raising funds for development of a new neighborhood park, Johnson Creek Blvd terrace clean-up events, annual neighborhood plant sales to also raise funds for the neighborhood park and a huge Halloween display at the Davis Graveyard to carry on the Halloween tradition of the Plimpton House witches that used to be displayed on 42nd and Olsen Street. These are just some of the events throughout the years and do not include individual donations of citizen’s time volunteering on boards, commissions, task forces, and council.

The AJCNDA would typically invite all neighbors to attend meetings at the Milwaukie Café and Bottle Shop at 6:30 – 8:00pm on the 4th Monday of most months except July and August. Currently, because of the covid-19 pandemic, meetings are held via zoom. A link to any upcoming meetings will be posted at: website. Everyone should attend and become involved because that is what makes a community great. 

STOP 28: 36th & Wake

 Appleby Acres Plat

In 1922 Judge R.Y. Appleby and his wife Ella platted 40 lots stretching from SE Wake Street to SE Olsen Road.  The land was originally full of Filbert orchards, thus the name of Filbert Street.


Moe Home

The home at 3614 SE Wake St was built in 1895 in the Queen Anne Vernacular. It was built by the Robert Moe family. 

STOP 29: 32nd & Wake

Endearing but Tragic Story of Ulisse Edera

Born in Canelli, Italy in August 1890, Ulisse Edera followed his brother to the US at the age of 23. After becoming a citizen, he joined the US Army and was a veteran of WWI. In 1925 Ulisse and his wife Daria built a house on SE 32nd Ave and farmed 22 acres then known as Johnson Creek Farms. Every inch of Ulisse’s small yard was planted with vegetables and flowers. He grew 200 pounds of garlic every year, drying it and selling it, along with homemade vinegar. 

On November 5, 1993 Mr. Edera was beaten to death inside of his home. Five juveniles were a couple of blocks away from Edera’s home at a party and went outside the party to mess around with cars in the area, probably to break into them. They stumbled around outside the house and saw several newspapers stacked up on the front porch, which gave them the impression no one was home. They broke into the home and one or more of the juveniles beat him to death with a chair or table leg they had brought into the house. The youths took jewelry, bottles of champagne, beer and wine. Mr. Edera was 103 when he was murdered and is the oldest person to be a homicide victim in Oregon.

Ulisse Edera’s name lives on though. David Yudkin, owner of Hotlips Pizza has saved seeds and propagated Ulisse’s tomato plants since meeting him in 1984. Today he sells the plants “with direct line to seeds brought from Italy in 1916” during an annual plant sale to benefit Opal Creek.  

Old Mill Road – 32nd Ave

There is a very good chance the “Old Mill Road” refers to what is now SE 32nd Ave. It runs north to the site of historic Willsburg and the lumber mill of George Wills which was built around the year 1848.

Mill No. 3 refers to one of the movable lumber mills used to process lumber for the building of the Oregon and California Railroad. According to newspaper accounts, Mill No. 3 was used to prepare wood for building railroad trestles. A series of articles published in the Oregon City newspaper The Weekly Enterprise from mid-1868 to early 1869 report on the building of the railroad from Portland to south of Oregon City. References to both Mill No. 2 and Mill No. 3 make it clear that these “Mills” were designed to be somewhat movable, to keep them close to where timber was needed which makes it almost impossible to know exactly where it was at the time the road description was written. However, the proximity of SE 32nd Ave and the path of the railroad nearby make it likely that Mill No. 3 was located near what is now SE 32nd Ave and SE Harrison St.

“Packers shop” refers to a store owed by John Packer, a Milwaukie pioneer who was born in England in 1812 and died suddenly in Milwaukie on January 11, 1878. Mr. Packer was a blacksmith and owned several pieces of property in downtown Milwaukie including a couple of lots that were on what is now SE Harrison St near the corner with Front Avenue (now SE McLoughlin Ave.). One of those pieces of property is where the Masonic Lodge now stands on the corner of SE Harrison St and SE Main St.  


 Hemer’s Helping Hands

Beginning in 2010 Hemer’s Helping Hands was founded by Michelle Hemer as a residential, commercial, and post-construction cleaning operation. Her husband Greg joined the workforce in 2015 and is still currently working with his wife. The company today has expanded to over 26 residential, 5 commercial, and 2 post-construction clients.

Both Michelle and Greg are involved with our local community and pride themselves on the work and dedication every volunteer strives to be. Michelle is active in Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Milwaukie Public Safety Foundation (MPSF), and other activities. Greg has served on many City Committees and Commissions and is a Planning Commissioner until 2023. Greg also serves on the Milwaukie Environmental Stewards Group (MESG) Board and is active in Clackamas County Heritage Council (CCHC). Michelle and Greg also attend their NDA meetings frequently.

Both Michelle and Greg are very active in Milwaukie Museum being board members, working and participating in historic walks, and greeting guests when they enter the Museum. They recognize that Milwaukie’s past has a value not only for our great accomplishments but also for not repeating the mistakes of the past.

STOP 30: 32nd & Malcom

Appleby House

 The house at 9366 SE 32nd Ave was once the home of Judge R.Y. Appleby who was a municipal judge in Oregon City. Born in Missouri in 1868 he moved to Oregon sometime after 1900 and originally lived in Portland. He owned the land that had the filbert trees that were platted to Appleby Acres. When that land was platted he created the largest lot for his house which you can see here. He passed away in 1937 while living in Washington state.

Implementing Our Vision to Be Entirely Equitable

Pilot article – August 2018

Together, we recently completed our 2040 Vision. I was proud to be on such a forward-looking team that sees a bright future for Milwaukie that “is a flourishing city that is entirely equitable, delightfully livable, and completely sustainable. It is a safe and welcoming community whose residents enjoy secure and meaningful work, a comprehensive educational system, and affordable housing.”

That visioning project was a lead up to our Comprehensive Plan update, which is underway. This month, we’ll be getting into the section that deals with City Council’s #1 goal: housing. We’ve done a lot of research and work around housing already, including adopting our Housing Affordability Strategic Plan. My own thinking on this topic has been informed by lectures and round table discussions I’ve attended in the region, articles and white papers written by housing experts, studies commissioned by the City and County, and books like Evicted, by Matthew Desmond and The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein. If you haven’t yet read Rothstein’s The Color of Law, I highly recommend picking up a copy at Ledding Library. In his book, Rothstein challenges the notion of voluntary housing segregation, and explores the various policies that federal, state, and local governments pursued to ensure that housing segregation would continue even after explicit housing discrimination became illegal. Reading Rothstein’s book left me thinking about how we ended up with the housing laws we have today in Milwaukie. 

Since its establishment as a US territory, Oregon has had a long history of laws that discriminated against people of color, and it wasn’t very long ago that people of color were forbidden from living in many parts of our region, including right here in Milwaukie. Below is language from the deed for my property in Ardenwald, which includes a racially restrictive covenant that barred anyone “except he be a member of the white race” from purchasing or renting any dwelling—and none that cost less than $2,000—that might be constructed there. The parties to this contract were clear in their intent to segregate housing by race and income.

(1941 Warranty Deed encumbering several parcels within the Wills Tract in Ardenwald.)

Eventually, courts rendered such racial restrictions unenforceable, but local jurisdictions found other ways to ensure that neighborhoods would remain racially and economically segregated, including making it illegal (or prohibitively expensive) to build many affordable housing options, like smaller homes, multi-family units, cottage clusters, and ADUs, and requiring large lot sizes, expensive design standards, and difficult and complicated review processes. 

Indeed, on June 24, 1946, the City Council adopted Ordinance Number 481, dividing the city into districts, “regulating, restricting, and prohibiting the location of industries, trades, apartment houses, two-family houses, and single-family houses… regulating and restricting the area and dimensions of lots and yards; the erection, alteration, and maintenance of buildings, and the height and alignment thereof; providing for the establishment of building set back lines; providing penalties for the violation thereof.”

That is not to say that all zoning is bad—buffering schools and residences from heavy industrial activity and the protection of natural resources are important and necessary public health policies. Also, it would be unfair to claim that discriminatory intent motivated all of Milwaukie’s past policymakers, and it would be untrue to say that not much has changed—many tweaks to the zoning map have been made since 1946, and Milwaukie is a vibrant and more diverse place than it was 70 years ago. However, many of the exclusionary practices that lead to housing segregation, including bans on certain types of affordable housing, persist today.

I believe that understanding this history and recognizing how past and current policies helped shape the city we have today is critical to charting a more equitable path forward and truly becoming the welcoming community that residents describe in our 2040 Vision. The inspiring vision that Milwaukie residents have developed for our city is a big first step in the right direction, and we have another opportunity to continue that path with the Comprehensive Plan update. 

1941 Warranty Deed- Falconer (PDF)

STOP 31: 32nd & Olsen

How Streets Get Their Names

You are standing on the corner of SE 32nd Ave and SE Olsen St. This is a great view of how streets get named but don’t always get to keep them! 

 SE Olsen St is named after J. Olsen who owned a bunch of properties between SE 32nd Ave and SE 42nd Ave. SE 29th Ave was originally named Ardenwald Ave when platted by Ellen Rockwood. Almost all roads in plats get names that reflect the owners of the property but as the property next door becomes broken into lots, it does not make sense to have different names. 

As Ardenwald (and Milwaukie) have grown and changed since 1850 many streets have taken new and different names. By 1975 Milwaukie (which had annexed Ardenwald) at times had 3 different addresses for the same place. Zipcodes became the new standard for mail delivery and in 1975 Milwaukie underwent a sweeping renaming process to standardize the street names and match zip codes. On the north/south streets, Milwaukie fell in line to match up with Portland. 

Today, when a plat is delivered to the City, it is up to the City to name the names. Typically, it is what is suggested on the plat, but every once in a while they will be changed.


Island Station NDA

The Island Station Neighborhood District Association (NDA) is an officially recognized NDA in the City of Milwaukie. Although the NDA is located between Mcloughlin Blvd and Willamette River, it boasts Elk Rock Island and Spring Park as great destinations. After enjoying Ardenwald Adventure, take Lot’s Loop and learn more about this great area of town!

Stay up to date with the latest neighborhood news by visiting this page often. The neighborhood also has a column each month in the city’s Pilot newsletter and the NDA maintains their own Facebook page(link is external)

A few of the most recent programs, events, and topics of interest in the Island Station Neighborhood primarily funded by Milwaukie’s Neighborhood Grant Program include:

  • Annual Neighborhood Picnic: Island Station sponsors an annual Neighborhood Picnic to provide an opportunity for neighbors to meet one another. No picnic was held in 2020 due to Covid-19. Check back in 2021. 
  • Street Intersection Painting: At the July 2018 meeting the ISNDA voted to move forward with a street intersection painting for the neighborhood. The first painting is located at Eagle St. and 19th Ave. to welcome cyclists and pedestrians to the neighborhood who are using the path along the river. ​Check out some photos below of the work party that painted the mural on Oct. 20, 2018. 

Learn more about Milwaukie’s Painted Intersection Program

  • Parks: The Island Station Neighborhood has been involved in volunteer work parties at parks located within the neighborhood for many years including Spring Park, Elk Rock Island, Kronberg Park, and Kellogg Creek Park. 
  • Emergency Preparedness: Island Station is active in emergency preparedness in partnership with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Several neighborhood leaders are CERT members and encourage more people to join them.
STOP 32: 29th & Olsen

Kellogg Park

Story by Dana Beck, Pamplin Media Dec. 2018

Look down the hill and below is Milwaukie Industrial District. Before there were factories and businesses it was a park…well sort of….

Many of us agree that housing in the Portland area has been a challenge for renters during the past ten years, as the population has increased. There is a high demand for affordable housing that hasn’t seen this level since World War II, when the Kaiser Shipyards began producing warships at Swan Island and along the Vancouver, Washington, waterfront.

During the Second World War, Portland saw an increase of over 30,000 workers, many of whom were recruited by industrialist Henry J. Kaiser himself, in the South and Midwest of our nation. The sudden increase of the population forced city, state, and county administrators to find adequate housing for everyone arriving, and to start a housing administration.

Residents of Portland and the other outlying communities of Vancouver, Milwaukie, Oregon City, Scappoose, Troutdale, and St Johns became overwhelmed by the influx that was crowding that their schools, causing strangers to camp on their streets, and disrupting neighborhoods.

In Clackamas County, where officials were trying to locate a desirable place to build a large section of homes, residents were shocked when newspapers reported that a housing project for African American workers near Milwaukie was planned. The shipyards brought large numbers of African Americans and Native Americans to the West Coast, and in those days many residents living close to the proposed housing projects of VanPort, Guilds Lake, and even McLoughlin Heights in Vancouver, were opposed to integration. Black workers at that time were restricted to North Portland’s VanPort City. (White workers were also housed there, but whites and African Americans were still segregated into their own sections.)

In early May of 1941, over half a year before the attack by the Japanese military on the United States military base at Pearl Harbor, Multnomah and Clackamas County were already in the planning stages of creating affordable housing for industrial workers. The City of Milwaukie and the Clackamas Housing Authority were working together with the U.S. Housing Administration to fund and find a location for a local housing development.

The site chosen for a possible housing project was a 30-acre tract of vacant land located northwest of the city of Milwaukie and just south of Ochoco Street, south of Sellwood. Milwaukie city officials planned on calling this area the Kellogg Park Housing Development. The only uses on that land at the time were a few houses and some fields of produce.

Just north of that large parcel of land, homes had been built in the 1920’s along the north side of Ochoco Street in Multnomah County, bordering the interurban line tracks that ran east to Gresham and west to Golf Junction. Golf Junction, today a small “pocket park” maintained by SMILE, was an important stop. There, passengers could board the interurban south to Milwaukie and Oregon City, or travel west down to Oaks Park and continue over to the metropolis of Portland, where many jobs were ready available.

From the Golf Junction stop, streetcars ran north along 13th Avenue to the commercial district of Sellwood, and north to Bybee Boulevard in Westmoreland before continuing north. Rail travel was also available for weekend excursions eastward, where the small communities of Gresham and Damascus were near hunting, fishing, and a variety of outdoor activities.

Just southeast of the homes on Ochoco were fields of vegetables and mounds of fruits during the summertime grown by Italians, Eastern Europeans, and Asians. 

Growing produce and traveling from neighborhood to neighborhood by horse and wagon to sell their crops had been a way of life for most of these immigrants. During the early 1900s, when their gardens and crops on the west side of the Willamette River were removed to make way for new housing, these same farmers planted new crops on vacant acres of fertile land in Southeast Portland. 

L.H. Dale, who lived along Ochoco Street at that time, described the view from his home in his memoirs: “From my front porch to Milwaukie was an open area covered by numerous gardens”. This section of Milwaukie was once referred to by the Locals as “Sellwood Gardens”.

To the Clackamas Housing Authority, these parcels of land were desirable for housing, because the terrain was basically flat, had easy access to Highway 99 and to the interurban, thus providing easy transportation to the WWII shipyards. Drinkable water could be obtained from Johnson Creek and Crystal Springs Creek which ran through where the development would be eventually built.

Aerial photos of this area taken during the mid-1940s give a glimpse of how large the housing division was. A small section of the rental homes were built on the east side of today’s S.E. 17th Avenue, with an open field and meandering Johnson Creek situated between the houses and Highway 99 (now S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard). A 90-foot wooden water tower rose over the small units near the entrance at Ochoco Street; and later, a church was built close by.

But the major part of the housing project was constructed east of Highway 99 and west of the Southern Pacific (today, Union Pacific) railroad tracks. Additional funds were supplied by the Federal Government for an administrative office and a community hall, built at the southern end of the entrance to Kellogg Park, probably for easy access to the highway. For those who know where the ODOT maintenance yards are located, that is where a large portion of the houses at the Kellogg Park Project were built.

The Kellogg Park Housing Development was partially opened by December of 1942, delays in finding necessary materials for the completion of the water mains held up completion of the additional units. Plumbing supplies, metal piping, and sewer materials were reserved exclusively for military use during the war, and any other projects were back ordered until released by the government. The Secretary of the Clackamas County Housing Authority, W. J. Avision, did announce that 34 houses were already available and now accepting applications for rental – until the rest of the development could be completed.

Around 100 homes would be constructed as living quarters for 600 men, women, and children. Within the next two years, all of the units were completely full, with a waiting list of an additional 150 people. Only those people working in the Kaiser Shipyards or other war industries around the city were allowed to become renters there, and occupancy was confined to families earning $800 a year or less.

The Administration Building at Kellogg Park was staffed by local clerks and supervisors who oversaw security, made sure residents were getting hot and cold water and proper heating, processed applications, dealt with residents and any problems they encountered, and made sure children were provided with an education and that any medical needs would be met.

Gertrude Yates was the Tenant Selector at Kellogg Park Housing Unit, and like many of the other management staff, she made sure that those who applied did qualify under the Housing Authority policy. In 1942, additional applicants who worked at Willamette Iron Works, the Fireman Commercial Iron Works, and the P&C Hand Forged Tool Company, all of which were located in the Brooklyn neighborhood, also had the opportunity to apply for housing in Clackamas County during this time.

Rent started at $35 dollars a month, and the most expensive unit was $45. One-bedroom units cost $35, and a two-bedroom house cost a laborer $39 dollars. Three and four-bedroom homes were offered from $42 to $45 a month. Some buildings had random vertical Tongue and Groove siding, while others were sheathed in basic sheets of plywood. All of the units were painted a neutral color.

Composition roofs, fir floors, interior walls made of gypsum (Plaster Board), and small brick chimneys completed the design of these low-rent houses.

From photos of the Kellogg Park Housing Project now stored at the Milwaukie Museum, it appears that a few of the units had front porches, which were probably built by the renters themselves at their own expense. Those who could afford a car either parked in front or by the side of their house, since garages were considered a luxury.

The Community Hall was used for special events, such as dances and music performances on the weekends, and holiday celebrations. Some residents remember that first to third grades classes were taught in the hall by volunteers; older students attended school in the Milwaukie District. The Girl Scout Troop of Kellogg Park was even credited with organizing a waste paper and tin can collection depot set up in the Community Hall.

There was no mention of a police department or fire station there, as the VanPort Development had; but, in all probability, the City of Milwaukie provided such services. Judith Leppert who lived with her parents in Kellogg Park remembers getting medical treatment at the Sellwood Hospital when she had an unfortunate accident.

There were no reports of any trouble from the Kellogg Park residents. Most of the residents were busy with their jobs, and were just happy to have low-rent housing. The only complaints seemed to come from residents of Garthwick just to the west, who felt the low-income houses built nearby were affecting their property values. Residents living in the housing development were sympathetic to their neighbors to the west, and assured them that if asked where they lived, they would thoughtfully reply that they lived in East Garthwick!

A weekly Day Bible School was set up for interested residents; meetings were probably held in the Wesleyan Holiness Brethren Church that was located in the development. Sellwood resident Judith Leppert tells that her grandfather built the church by hand, using an existing boathouse that once was on the Willamette River. William Leppert, who owned the Willamette Boat and Manufacturing Company, was forced to close his business because of the lack of sales during the Depression, and he then decided to become a preacher. Hauling the boathouse out of the river, he transported the wooden structure over to Ochoco Street and added a steeple and a wide front door for the congregation. More than 160 attended his services every Sunday.

When all hostilities with Germany and Japan finally officially ended on September 2, 1945, the Federal Government was quick to pull out of the housing projects it had built around the city. The Kellogg Park Housing project and all responsibility for its renters were turned over to the City of Milwaukie. The town folks and city council of Milwaukie would have to decide if they should continue to make the low-rent units available. Many worried that the buildings were cheaply made and would soon become a blight on the community, and others feared they would be charged additional taxes to pay for the workers laid off from their industry jobs.

For the following five years, those living in the housing development would have to wonder how long they could live there. In 1951, the Kellogg Park wartime housing area was ordered to close, and plans were made to rename it the Milwaukie Industrial Park.

The Cleveland Wrecking Company placed an advertisement in the Oregonian offering their services to move the houses in 1954. Their proposal included the structure, a bathroom with utilities, a stall shower, all of the kitchen cabinets, and a refrigerator originally in the house. There wasn’t any mention of whether the offer included a furnace or wood stove the buyer might have to furnish it themselves.

The costs for the “Ready to be moved to your lot” service were $395 for a one-bedroom unit, to $560 for duplexes. The newspaper reported that only 49 houses were auctioned off to potential buyers, as the remaining units might have already been sold. But the question remains: What happened to the homes at the Kellogg Park Development; are any still around today?

On a recent visit to the Milwaukie Museum, for research purposes, this writer learned that Greg Hemer, Vice President of the Milwaukie Historic Society, believes that a section of the auctioned houses was moved to S.E. 32nd and Harrison Street in Milwaukie, now known as Hillside Park and Hillside Manor.

Kay Blackmore Bechtold, who lived with her nine brothers and sisters on Clatsop Street close to the Kellogg Park project during the WWII years, said she doesn’t really remember anyone who lived there at the time. But one of her best school friends, who now lives at Hillside Manor, concurs that at one time the homes in that complex were part of the wartime housing of Clackamas County.

Duane McDonald lived in Kellogg Park from 1943 until the early 1950s, when the units were sold and the occupants had to move. On his recent message on “Vintage Portland”, Duane was able to share with us that many of the homes once built in Kellogg Park can be found between the towns of Carver and Estacada, though he doesn’t specify where. He did add that Hillside Park in Milwaukie was originally a war defense project, and many of them have been updated since that time.

While there are many opinions and speculations about the houses of Kellogg Park, I did come across an article at the Milwaukie Museum about the demise of the Administration Building. In 1959, the fraternity of the Milwaukie Elks Club paid for the structure to be moved in three separate sections to where the current Elks building is located on McLoughlin Blvd. Volunteers turned out in the middle of the night to whisk the building away there, and it served as a temporary lodge for the members until the completion of their new temple. After the opening of the new Elks Lodge the old administration building was either torn down or hauled away to another location.

Today, there is little, if any, evidence of the war time housing project that once stood just south of Sellwood and east of Garthwick for the short span of just under 15 years. The Sellwood Gardens, which provided fruit and vegetables for the community, was replaced by the wartime housing which itself has been replaced by metal warehouses. The 60 foot water tower and church, with its hand-built steeple, has been replaced with the Goodwill Outlet Superstore. 

Only a handful of houses along Ochoco Street remain there from the 1920’s era, but residents of the Kellogg Park Housing Project (or Garthwick East, as they liked to be called), will remember the wonderful times they spent together as a community. Kellogg Park will always be a part of history for the Milwaukie Historical Society and the SMILE History Committee.  


North Milwaukie Industrial District

Just down the hill, following Johnson Creek lies North Milwaukie Industrial District.

In July 2017, Milwaukie City Council adopted the North Milwaukie Industrial Area (NMIA) Plan.

The Vision of the NMIA Plan is:

The North Milwaukie Industrial Area capitalizes on the District’s strategic location to attract innovative and entrepreneurial businesses to create a strong regional center for next-generation traded sector employment, manufacturing, makers and doers. The area supports existing and future businesses that provide family-wage jobs accessible by all modes of travel, respects the natural environment and incorporates sustainable design to reduce demand on citywide infrastructure.

Goals include:

 Economic Development and Employment- Encourage a balance of employment-focused land uses, programs, and resources that increase private capital investment and family-wage jobs.

Infrastructure- Identify infrastructure improvements necessary to meet existing and future planned development needs.

Land Use and Urban Design- Provide for a diverse array of land uses that create an active employment center and facilitate commercial and mixed-use development that supports the employment focus of the district.

Transportation and Mobility- Create a transportation system that provides safe and direct connections for bicycles and pedestrians while also providing for efficient truck access and circulation.

Community Supported Vision- Create opportunities for NMIA businesses, landowners, employees, and the greater community to stay informed and involved in the ongoing development of the District. 

STOP 33: 29th & Balfour


According to City of Milwaukie Bicycle Routes Map…SE 29th is designated as a Greenway……

What is a Greenway?

Neighborhood greenways are where people of all ages and abilities have the opportunity to bicycle, walk and play. As such, neighborhood greenways need to maintain low auto volumes and speeds, provide protected crossings at major intersections, and create an environment that encourages people of all ages to travel actively.

City of Milwaukie currently does not have standards for Greenways, but here are the typical performance standards:

  • Vehicles should travel 20 mph or less
  • There should be a daily average of approximately 1,000 cars per day with the upper limit set at 2,000 cars
  • There should be ample opportunities for people bicycling and walking to cross busy streets, at least 50 crossing opportunities per hour, with 100 crossing opportunities per hour the preferred level of service.
  • Greenways are not cut-through streets:

Neighborhood greenways are most often found on local service streets that can have a large range of street widths. Neighborhood greenways typically include two shared travel lanes and two parking lanes. In order to keep people from using neighborhood greenways as automobile cut-through routes, speed bumps and traffic diverters are commonly installed on greenways. These common traffic calming techniques help auto traffic remain on nearby main streets rather than cutting through on neighborhood streets.

The primary pavement marking for neighborhood greenways is the shared roadway marking, aka sharrow. Despite the city’s success in growing bicycle ridership, increases in population and development translate into more people walking, bicycling and driving. More cars on neighborhood greenways contribute to an increased level of stress experienced by people bicycling and walking. Increased stress on our priority bicycle routes makes bicycling less comfortable and has a negative impact on the overall livability of our city.

Lowering traffic stress requires neighborhood greenways to operate with low auto volumes and speeds, provide protected crossings at major intersections and maintain an environment that encourages people of all ages and abilities to travel actively. The traffic calming measures mentioned earlier not only help to discourage cut-through traffic, they also help to lower the traffic stress on neighborhood greenways for people walking and biking. 

STOP 34: 32nd & Balfour

Balfour Park

The Ardenwald/Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association was informed of the opportunity to have a new neighborhood park on the west side of 32nd Ave due to a Metro identified lack of parks/greenspace on this side of the neighborhood.  An AJCNDA subcommittee was formed in 2007-2008 to research viable sites in this area.  The subcommittee identified 5 sites, with the help of JoAnne Herrigel at the City of Milwaukie and walked each site to determine appropriateness for a neighborhood park.  Criteria such as lot size, accessibility, existing trees, greenspace value, and levelness of the site were considered. 

 The final decision came down to 2 sites, and the Balfour Street site was chosen over the Scott site as the subcommittee felt that the Scott site was not level, and a large portion of the site was more suited as a wetland space.  It was discussed that in the future this land may be purchased to add wetland space to the Roswell Pond filtration site. A small portion of the Scott site land, adjacent to the Springwater Trail, could act as a layover site for bicyclists and may have amenities such as a drinking fountain, shade trees, and bike rack.  The AJC neighborhood asked the City of Milwaukie to purchase the Balfour Street land in 2008 with funds from Metro’s voter-approved 2006 nature in neighborhood’s bond measure. 

Unfortunately, just before the City of Milwaukie took ownership of the land, a company hired by the owner, Pat O’Malley, to clear the site of invasive plants and 2 derelict structures, took down the signature native white oak tree on site for lumber. They also damaged the younger Sitka Spruce tree, Chestnut tree, and tore out native plants along with the invasive plants.  JoAnne Herrigel did her level best to protect the rest of the trees on site contacting Pat the owner who was also not happy with the removal of the native white oak. The rest of the trees were preserved, and the City now owns and protects the land. 

In 2011 the AJCNDA, being very committed to the future development of this new park site, paid a discounted price of $500 to commission a concept design for Balfour Street Park from Mayer/Reed Landscape Architects. This preliminary design was a compilation of site elements that neighbors visualized within the park. It was meant to show a range of possibilities for site elements and express the feel of the park. To get this feedback, the AJCNDA tabled at their yearly summer concert series events at Ardenwald Park and surveyed/questioned neighbors for their input.

Since 2008, the AJCNDA have held several garden tours, one sustainability tour, and have had many annual neighborhood plant sales raising funds towards the Balfour Street Park development.  They have been keeping the need for development of Milwaukie’s many undeveloped parks in the forefront of city and citizen interests while also providing low cost native plants to citizens to improve their environment.

In 2014 through discussion between City Council, the Milwaukie Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) and the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District (NCPRD), funding was found to hire a landscape architect company, Lango-Hansen, to create master plans for four undeveloped neighborhood parks. Balfour Street, Bowman-Brae, Wichita, and Kronberg parks, respectively.  Two open houses were held for each park in the neighborhoods where each park resided to get feedback from citizens. Master plans for each park were completed and presented to all stakeholders in early 2015.

In 2018 Milwaukie Parks Foundation (MPF), a 501(c)3 was created to benefit the public specifically those living in the City of Milwaukie by raising funds to acquire, develop, and maintain parks and public spaces. In 2019 their current focus was on Milwaukie Bay Park (MBP), but they took the time to come help support the AJCNDA plant sale to raise funds for Balfour Street Park. 

This brings us to 2020, where the covid-19 pandemic has stopped all summer events in the metro region, and park space has become one of the most important infrastructures necessary for the health and wellness of all citizens.  The Balfour Park property, although undeveloped, has provided a place for families and friends to safely visit during walks and bike rides throughout the neighborhood. It offers a place for neighbors to come together and enjoy both nature and passive recreation while observing social distancing requirements. The master plan for the park addresses the functional needs of the park site such as circulation and Right-of-Way improvements and provides a framework for reshaping the site so that it can meet the neighborhood’s recreation needs. Currently the natural feel that exists in the park draws people there daily to enjoy this greenspace and remind everyone that the Balfour site’s existing topography and mature canopy trees provide a unique space that is amazing for the neighborhood now, during a pandemic, and in the future.  


Milwaukie Parks Foundation

Parks for All — the Milwaukie Parks Foundation (MPF) story

Milwaukie is home to numerous parks with others either under construction or in the planning stages. These parks represent a diverse landscape that includes playgrounds, amphitheaters, trails and wildlife habitat – perfect for activities from play, exercise and entertainment, to observation and peaceful contemplation. Many of the city’s parks are unfinished while others would benefit from various updates and beautification projects.  In April 2018 a long-discussed plan became reality and the Milwaukie Parks Foundation (MPF) was born. MPF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to raising funds for the completion and improvement of Milwaukie’s parks.

 Naturalists and philosophers have long touted the benefits of spending time in nature. Numerous studies now support this belief, illustrating the mental and physical benefits from experiencing the great outdoors. Here at MPF, we believe that everyone should have a park, natural area or other green space within walking distance of their home. As such, we are dedicated to ensuring that quality parks are available for the enjoyment of all of Milwaukie’s residents and visitors. 

Want to get involved?  Visit our volunteer page to discover ways that you can get involved with making Milwaukie’s parks some of the best in the region. 

STOP 35: 32nd and Harrison

 Providence Hospital

Providence Milwaukie Hospital. (Photo courtesy of MHS)

At Providence Milwaukie Hospital, we believe that maintaining health and enhancing quality of life means focusing on the whole person, including physical, mental, social, psychological, and spiritual needs.

We provide services that are preventive in nature and that seek to serve the whole person before he or she becomes ill. We also are committed to providing care for people who are sick with inpatient and outpatient services that are state-of-the-art, user-friendly, and accessible.

A part of Providence Health & Services, Providence Milwaukie Hospital is a community facility with outstanding physicians, nurses, staff, and volunteers. We are committed to being the best place to receive care, the best place to work, and the best place to practice medicine.

Statistics of Interest- As of year-end December 2019

  • Employees of Providence Milwaukie Hospital – 631
  • Medical staff members – 525
  • Licensed beds for acute care – 77

Annual (2019 data) 

  • Admissions – 2,812
  • Emergency department visits – 29,941
  • Average daily census (acute care) – 24
  • Average inpatient length of stay – 3.5
  • Charity and unpaid community benefit costs – $16,010,000
  • Donations to Providence Milwaukie Foundation – $406,584
  • Volunteer hours – 10,488



Dwyer Hospital

On July 22, 1968 Milwaukie got its first hospital- Dwyer Hospital…here is an article about the new hospital then from The Review – July 17, 1968

The hospital located at 420 SE 32nd has been under construction about 14 months at a total cost of about $1.5 million. It will begin with 62 beds, but it is designed to be expandable to 200 beds….

Officials point out that the hospital was built entirely with private funds and received no government assistance. And, as a profit hospital, it will pay about $30,000 a year in property taxes. Dwyer Memorial will employ 110 persons with a medical staff of 40 and the annual payroll is estimated at $650,000.

Dwyer Memorial is a private, non-sectarian, full-service general hospital which was built to serve the needs of North Clackamas and the surrounding area and as a convenience to the area’s many doctors.

It was built as a memorial to the late AJ Dwyer, a pioneer Clackamas County lumberman, as an expression of appreciation to the community. The Dwyer family has been active in the Portland-Clackamas County area for 60 years, operating Dwyer Lumber and Plywood Company before it sold it 1964.

The single story daylight basement building contains 41,500 sqft of floor space, has a brick veneer exterior with a mansard roofline. It has sound absorbing carpets the entire length of the halls and all year round air conditioning. All patient rooms are private or semi-private and all have electric beds. Extensive use of vinyl-textured wallpapers and wood paneling has been made in patient rooms and each room features a lavatory, piped in oxygen, television, and telephone. 

Easy access is made by the hospital’s close connection to the ne Milwaukie Expressway, making emergency care only minutes away for the 150,000 residents of the communities which the hospital is designed to serve.

In 1971, Dwyer Memorial Hospital, was sold to a group of physicians and local business partners. It was re-named North Clackamas Community Hospital doing business as Dwyer Community Hospital. The hospital moved from investor-owned to a non-profit organization.  In 1986, the hospital joined an affiliation with Providence Health System and was re-named Providence Milwaukie Hospital as it is known today. 


Hillside Manor

The Hillside Manor and Park community is comprised of 200 units of public housing located on 16 acres on SE 32nd Avenue which is owned and operated by the Housing Authority of Clackamas County (HACC). 

Plans for a redevelopment project will complement County-wide goals for affordable housing and provide a roadmap for redevelopment that features increased housing density and improved site amenities. The City of Milwaukie and Clackamas County are actively developing strategies to plan for growth and improve quality of life for current and future residents. The Hillside Master Plan is an important part of this community-wide conversation.

Why Hillside?

The Hillside site presents significant opportunity for adding housing and amenities for current and future residents. The City of Milwaukie and Clackamas County recognize the need to increase housing supply to address rapidly increasing costs and demand. Hillside’s proximity to essential services, transit connections, downtown Milwaukie and Southeast Portland make it the ideal location for expanding housing options. The new housing options that replace the current homes will be available to all residents who live at Hillside today. Through the master planning process, residents, neighbors and other stakeholders will provide input on what additional services they would like to see in the future mixed-use community. Mixed-use means a combination of housing and businesses, retail, office space or other services.

Hillside Manor, Milwaukie’s tallest building. (Photo courtesy of MHS)

Revitalization efforts

  1. Rehabilitation of the 9-story tower (Hillside Manor)
  2. Master planning for the redevelopment of the site (Hillside Park)

Five stated goals for the revitalization efforts:

  1. Add up to 400 new affordable housing units
  2. Community gathering space
  3. Enhanced outdoor recreation areas
  4. Other amenities that will serve both Hillside residents and neighbors
  5. A mixed-use community with potential new retail and office space


STOP 36: 32nd & Meek

William Meek Donation Land Claim

Number 50 William and wife Mary 630 acres

The Donation Land Claim Act of 1850, sometimes known as the Donation Land Act, [1] was a statute enacted in late 1850 by the United States Congress. It was intended to promote homestead settlements in the Oregon Territory. The law, a forerunner of the later Homestead Act, brought thousands of white settlers into the new territory, swelling the ranks of settlers traveling along the Oregon Trail. A total of 7,437 land patents were issued under the law, which expired in late 1855.

The passage of the law was largely due to the efforts of Samuel R. Thurston, the Oregon territorial delegate to Congress. [4] The act, which became law on 27 September 1850, granted 320 acres (1.3 km2) of designated areas free of charge to every unmarried white male citizen eighteen or older and 640 acres (2.6 km2) to every white married couple arriving in the Oregon Territory before 1 December 1850. [5] In the case of a married couple, the husband and wife each owned half of the total grant under their own names. The law was one of the first that allowed married white women in the United States to hold property under their own name. [4] “American half-breed Indians” were also eligible for the grant. [6] A provision in the law granted half the amount to those who arrived after the 1850 deadline but before 1854. [6] Claimants were required to live on the land and to cultivate it for four years to own it outright. [5]

The provisional government formed at Champoeg had limited the land claims offered in the hope of preventing land speculation. The Organic Act of the Oregon Territory had granted 640 acres (2.6 km²) to each married couple. [4] The new law voided the previous statutes but essentially continued the same policy and was worded in such a way as to legitimize existing claims. One such claim legitimized by the act was that of George Abernethy, who had been elected to the governorship in the days of the provisional government. His claim became famous for Abernethy Green, where new emigrants camped at the end of the Oregon Trail while seeking a piece of land for themselves.  

Learn More…   Go to stop #00 to learn more about Donation Land Claims and see an original map of Milwaukie with its Donation Land Claims.


William Meek

Born in 1817, Meek grew up in Ohio and Iowa. Following the tragic death of his young wife and two sons in 1847, Meek left home and immigrated to Oregon. He established the first commercial fruit-tree nursery on the Pacific Coast in the Willamette River Valley, five miles from Portland, with Henderson Luelling. He married Mary Luelling who died in 1850 and is buried at Milwaukie Pioneer Cemetery. He started with grafted fruit trees carried from Iowa by wagon train, the first such trees to reach the Pacific Coast. He began shipping trees and fruit to California, receiving fabulous prices for their goods in the lucrative San Francisco Bay Area market.

In 1859 Meek and Luelling sold out their Oregon holdings and reinvested them in lands of the Francisco Soto grant to the north and west of Guillermo Castro’s grant and his village of Haywards (as it was then called). Luelling reestablished his nursery business at San Lorenzo, and later Niles. William Meek began general farming on his large acreage, ultimately three miles of land running north-south between. His farm contained 2,200 acres of the highest quality deep loam in the state.

 During the Civil War Meek devoted himself to grain-growing and sheep-raising, and by 1866 had developed a system to rotate his crops. In grains he sowed 600 acres of wheat one year, Chevalier barley the next and sometimes corn and oats. One year he planted 50 acres of tobacco, which was harvested and sent to auction houses in Louisville, Kentucky, where it commanded premium prices.

William Meek developed his own nursery stock and planted 20,000 almond trees on his own land and sold another 7,000 to South County neighbors. His orchards contained 4,200 cherry trees, 3,000 plum and prune trees and 225,000 currant bushes. 

Meek built a water reservoir on San Lorenzo Creek in California, where it cuts its way through the Prospect Street hill and ran pipes to carry the irrigation water as far as 3 1/2 miles to his fields and orchards.

Meek employed over 100 farm hands, in addition to Chinese cooks and house servants. Over 100 horses and mules were stabled in his barns and milk herds numbered two dozen producing cows.

His still-surviving ranch home — commonly called the “Meek Mansion” — was built in 1870 for $40,000. He lavished $5,000 on furnishings.

In addition to his distinction as the “first farmer” of Alameda County, William Meek was known for his participation in all facets of life in early Alameda County. He was elected county supervisor for four terms beginning in 1862. Meek organized Hayward’s first Agricultural Society, which chose him as its president in 1867. He was a member of the first board of trustees of Mills College and was active in many other community services.

After Meek’s death in 1880 his estate was left to his sons, Horry and William, who continued to manage the property for many years. Horry Meek was distinguished as the president of the Bank of Hayward, while William Meek headed the firm that built the first electric car line from Oakland to Hayward in 1892.  


Murphy’s Plywood Site

What is the Future for this Site?

Owned by Murphy’s Plywood, the vast acreage may hold many possibilities. This site is meant to have a pedestrian feel with windows facing towards the street and transit-oriented. It is a General Mixed Use Zone. Read further to understand what is allowed inside this property.

The General Mixed Use Zone is intended to recognize the importance of Central Milwaukie as a primary commercial center and promote a mix of uses that will support a lively and economically robust district. It is also intended to ensure high-quality urban development that is pedestrian-friendly and complementary to the surrounding area.

Permitted Uses:

Residential (Rowhouse and Multifamily), Mixed-use (Live/work units and Senior and retirement housing) Commercial, Eating and drinking establishments, Indoor recreation, Retail-oriented sales, Personal service-oriented, Repair-oriented, Daycare, Commercial lodging, and Boarding, lodging, or rooming house.

Development standards or building design are intended to ensure new buildings shall have their primary orientation toward a transit street or, if not adjacent to a transit street, a public right-of-way which leads to a transit street. The primary building entrance shall be visible from the street and shall be directly accessible from a sidewalk connected to the public right-of-way. A building may have more than one entrance. If the development has frontage on more than one transit street, the primary building entrance may be oriented to either street or to the corner.

Milwaukie Museum
3737 SE Adams St
Milwaukie, OR 97222
(503) 659-5780
Open Saturdays

Milwaukie Museum