Lot's Loop

5.5 mile walk of history, art, architecture, geology and nature in Milwaukie!

Welcome to Lot’s Loop.

Lot Whitcomb is considered Milwaukie’s founding father, having purchased a donation land claim in 1847 which included an area from downtown Milwaukie south to Elk Rock Island.

This 5.5 mile walk explores the history, art, architecture, and nature of things you will see along the way. Lot’s Loop does not care where you start, stop, or how many sites you visit at one time. Take your time and enjoy!

Make sure you look on line or at a physical brochure located at City Hall, Milwaukie Max Station Kiosk, or Spring Park for the pathway. Keep your mobile device handy. When you come upon a stop, note the number on the brochure or sign and open the corresponding number on this webpage. You will be entertained, informed, and educated to what the stop has to offer.

Milwaukie Historical Society pursues the goal of preserving Milwaukie’s past for future generations. This walk is only one way we accomplish our goals. We own and operate the Milwaukie Museum, we house the Clair Kuppenbender Research Library, and we work with the community to inform them of Milwaukie and our region’s great history.

Milwaukie Historical Society welcomes everyone to join our group. For a small annual membership fee you will receive information about upcoming events, invitations to our monthly meetings, join in efforts like Lot’s Loop to better our community, and know that you are helping to preserve Milwaukie’s past for future generations. Learn more about becoming a member click here!

You can either join or donate right here on our web page by using Paypal, sending a check to Milwaukie Museum located at 3737 SE Adams St, or coming by Milwaukie Museum during public viewing hours. You can find all of this information and more on our web site.

Now enjoy Lot’s Loop!

Lot's Loop

5.5 mile walk of history, art, architecture, geology and nature in Milwaukie!

Welcome to Lot’s Loop.

Lot Whitcomb is considered Milwaukie’s founding father, having purchased a donation land claim in 1847 which included an area from downtown Milwaukie south to Elk Rock Island.

This 5.5 mile walk explores the history, art, architecture, nature and geology you will see along the way. Lot’s Loop does not care where you start, stop, or how many sites you visit at one time. Take your time and enjoy!

Look on line or at a physical brochure for the pathway and the location of the stops. Keep your mobile device handy to access more information.

Use the stop numbers on the brochure or on the website map to open the corresponding stop story on this webpage where you will find notes on the history, art, architecture, nature and geology for that stop.

Now enjoy Lot’s Loop!

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Introduction: Lot's Loop

The original inhabitants of this area, the Clackamas, were a part of the Upper Chinookan speaking people living along the Columbia River from the Columbia River Gorge to the Pacific Ocean. The Clackamas lived in permanent winter villages along the east bank of the Willamette River below Tumwata (Willamette Falls) to St. Johns (NE Portland) and in seasonal settlements eastward into the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.

Europeans had been coming to the Columbia River to trade with the Chinookans since 1792. By the time Lewis and Clark arrived in 1805, they estimated the Clackamas population at 4,650. Some 50 years later, in December 1850, and 9 years before Oregon became a state, Lot Whitcomb purchased a Donation Land Claim and established the first American settlement in what is now downtown Milwaukie. He named the new town after his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which was frequently spelled with an “ie.” At this time only 78 Clackamas remained having been decimated by diseases introduced by the Europeans.

This 5.5 mile walk explores the history, art, architecture, and nature of things you will see along the way. Lot’s Loop does not care where you start, stop, or how many sites you visit at one time. Take your time and enjoy!

Make sure you look on line or at a physical brochure located at City Hall, Milwaukie Max Station Kiosk, or Spring Park for the pathway. Keep your mobile device handy. When you come upon a stop, note the number on the brochure or sign and open the corresponding number on this webpage. You will be entertained, informed, and educated to what the stop has to offer.

Milwaukie Historical Society pursues the goal of preserving Milwaukie’s past for future generations. This walk is only one way we accomplish our goals. We own and operate the Milwaukie Museum, we house the Clair Kuppenbender Research Library, and we work with the community to inform them of Milwaukie and our region’s great history.

Milwaukie Historical Society welcomes everyone to join our group. For a small annual membership fee you will receive information about upcoming events, invitations to our monthly meetings, join in efforts like Lot’s Loop to better our community, and know that you are helping to preserve Milwaukie’s past for future generations.

You can either join or donate right here on our web page by using Paypal, sending a check to Milwaukie Museum located at 3737 SE Adams St, or coming by Milwaukie Museum during public viewing hours. You can find all of this information and more on our web site.

Now enjoy Lot’s Loop!

Stop 1: Milwaukie Masonic Lodge

Stop 1: Milwaukie Masonic Lodge

Masonic Lodge
The Milwaukie Masonic Temple is one of the most unique buildings in Downtown. It is a perfect example of 20th Century Gothic Revival, and the only example in town. Notice how the building is similar to City Hall, in the Modern Style, but with Gothic details like the pointed arch window surrounds and door openings. The major focus point, of course, is the front entry. Look at the design detail; its design is intended to make a statement about Masonic importance with allure and foreboding. Almost all Masonic Lodges and temples are historically registered landmarks in their communities and this is no exception.

The Story of Seth Lewelling
I am the man that spread what is known as the fruit tree business all over the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. In fact, you can trace my original tree grafts back to almost all of the fruit trees in those areas.

You are now standing on what was my old orchard. In fact, until 1912 when they expanded Main Street, my 1st Bing cherry tree stood at the intersection of Main and Harrison. My Peach tree also stood in the City Hall parking lot until 2006. The mayoral gavel used to this day is made from that tree. See, I still get a residual bang from my fruit trees!

I cannot begin my life story without mentioning my brother Henderson. Henderson came from Iowa in 1847 with 700 grafted trees and started his nursery where Waverly Country Club is today. Now, I do not want to say that Henderson was the lucky one, but on his wagon train journey he encountered some Native Americans. They took one look inside his wagon and let him pass believing that plants and trees had good spirits and this white settler must not be that bad.

He wasn’t really a bad guy and we shared the Republican abolitionist views on slavery. In fact, even though we are brothers, he spelled his last name different from mine, at least in Oregon. Henderson had a nice Quaker home in Salem, Iowa. His home was known as a well respected stop on the Underground Railroad. Henderson was told that hired guns were coming his way to collect the reward on him and to stop his good deeds. Henderson left for Oregon the next day…..I wonder if he was still a little afraid of someone collecting that reward. Republicans who wanted to abolish slavery were also known as Black Republicans; and the name of one of my very own award winning cherries. I always said “before I am through, I will make you relish Black Republicans”

I was born in North Carolina in 1820 and traveled West in 1850, first hitting California then settling here in Milwaukie. I brought peach, plum, and other fruit tree seeds with me. My brother left for California, but I stayed and became Oregon’s first horticulturist.
Here is my list of some of the cherry varieties I brought to Oregon: Lincoln, Black Republican, Willamette, Lewelling, and of course, from my beloved Chinese worker Bing, the Bing cherry. Because of the Brits and their Oriental exclusion law I never got to see my friend after 1890. I will list the other propagations I created by fruit first: almond and grape, both named Lewelling, and Sweet Alice apple. My fruit won many awards, one at the California State Fair and in 1876 my cherries and pears were honored as the world’s premium at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. For those who do not comprehend those words, I won a huge award at America’s centennial celebration and I started the Oregon State Fair as well.

George Washington Slept Here
Washington was born in Frederick County, Virginia, on August 15, 1817. When his father, a slave, was sold and taken from the area soon after George’s birth, his mother left George with a white couple named Anna and James Cochran (or Cochrane) who raised him. While George was still a child, the Cochrans moved west to Ohio and then Missouri. As an adult, Washington tried his hand at several businesses in Missouri and Illinois, but was frustrated each time by discriminatory laws. By 1850 he decided to head farther west in the hope of finding more freedom. The Cochrans joined him, and on March 15, 1850, the family set out with a wagon train heading west. They settled first in Milwaukie at Lewelling’s home, but within a few years crossed the Columbia River into what would soon become Washington Territory.

In 1852, Washington began a claim where the Skookumchuck River joins the Chehalis River, becoming the fourth settler in the area where he would later found the town of Centralia. The spot had long been a home of the Chehalis Indians, and Washington recognized the river junction as a prime spot for a settlement. He cleared land, built a cabin, and began farming. Because Oregon Territory had passed a law barring settlement by African Americans, Washington had James and Anna Cochran file a claim under the Donation Land Claim Act for 640 acres in the area. When the claim was established by four years of residence and Washington Territory, which did not bar African American ownership, had come into existence, the Cochrans deeded the property to Washington.

In 1872, the Northern Pacific Railroad advancing north from the Columbia River to Puget Sound, crossed the Washington’s land. Washington recognized that his land would be a central point on the railroad between Kalama, on the Columbia, and Tacoma, on the Sound, and decided to start a town on the site.

On January 8, 1875, the Washington’s filed the plat for their town, which they called Centerville, at the Lewis County courthouse in nearby Chehalis. The initial plat consisted of four blocks platted into lots, which Washington offered for sale at $10 per lot to anyone who would settle in the town. Washington later filed additional plats, adding to the size of the town. The Washington’s gave land to their Baptist congregation for a church and cemetery, and helped build the church. They also set aside land for a public square, which became Centralia’s City Park, now named George Washington Park.

The town grew steadily. But while settlers liked the location and the favorable terms Washington offered, they did not care for the name Centerville, in part because the town was confused with one of the same name near Goldendale, Klickitat County. By 1883, the name was changed to Centralia, based on the suggestion of a settler from Centralia, Illinois. In 1886, Centralia was incorporated.

By 1889, when the Washington Territory became a state, the population of Centralia was nearing 1,000. Those were boom times and within little more than a year, the population had climbed to over 3,000 people. By 1891, George Washington had sold 2000 lots.

“Put a Little Soul in Your Roll” – The story of Milwaukie Pastry Kitchen
In the early 1960’s, Hurtis Mixon Hadley, Sr. began his career as a Baker’s Helper at Bohemian Bakery and Restaurant in Portland. At that time, African Americans were discouraged from joining the Baker’s Union so, after five years at Bohemian, Hurtis took his skills to Albertsons where he was accepted into the three year Oregon Baker’s Apprenticeship Program. Two years later in 1967 Hurtis became the first African American in Oregon to graduate and be state certified as a Journeyman Baker.

After completing his apprenticeship, Hurtis was promoted to Bakery Manager at Albertsons, becoming the first African American to hold that position in Oregon. While at Albertsons, he was promoted once more to Bakery Trainer and was responsible for training store directors and bakers. Despite his credentials, knowledge and success Hurtis was passed over for a District Manager position and was told “southern Oregon communities will not accept a black man in this position of authority.”

In 1977 Hurtis and his wife Dorothy Bishop Hadley, struck out on their own and purchased Milwaukie Pastry Kitchen at 10607 SE Main St. It became the first African American owned full line bakery operating in Oregon and the first African American owned business in Milwaukie. Hurtis handled the baking and produced many varieties of cakes, pastries, breads, and donuts. Dorothy ran the front counter and handled sales. After eight successful years the bakery closed, but Hurtis continued on as a Baker and Bakery Trainer at Safeway, then as a Mixer at Franz Bakery and Orowheat before retiring in 1997.

Stop 2: Klein Point- Milwaukie Bay Park

Stop 2: Klein Point- Milwaukie Bay Park

Klein Point, Milwaukie Bay Park

Klein Point is located at the northern end of Milwaukie Bay Park.

At this juncture, where Johnson Creek flows into the Willamette River, Lot Whitcomb built his saw mill. He utilized water power from Johnson Creek to power his mill. The mill ran night and day from 1846 to 1850 to meet the need for lumber in California.

The old Portland Traction Company streetcar took passengers from Portland to Oregon City over Johnson Creek. Even now, during low water, you can see the concrete footings that made up the Trolley Bridge over Johnson Creek.

A number of waterfowl can be seen along the edge of Milwaukie Bay Park. These include cormorants, Canada geese, mallard ducks, mergansers, and occasionally wood ducks.

The Willamette River is a very active place. A number of water craft can be seen on the river, including: large river cruise boats such as the Portland Spirit, a sternwheel boat, sail boats, cabin cruisers, aluminum fishing boats, ski boats, scull boats with 1, 2, 4 or 8 rowers, canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. And if you are here on the Fourth of July or Memorial Day you might see a World War II PT Boat traveling the river!




The Story of Lot Whitcomb

The River was the key to Milwaukie being the largest town in Oregon in 1847. Originally surrounded by White Oaks and Firs, Lot Whitcomb saw Milwaukie Bay and its natural resources as the way to build a town and industry.

Lot Whitcomb started his ship building and lumber empire at the Bay. He hired Joseph Kellogg to build his ships at Kellogg Creek and he built a lumber mill at Johnson Creek. Settlers came from thousands of miles to find employment in Milwaukie, creating 500 residents for the City. Most early Milwaukians went chasing riches in California during the Gold Rush, but Lot Whitcomb stayed. He knew supplies would be needed in San Francisco so he remained and kept Milwaukie humming. His steamboats hauled most of the goods from the mouth of the Columbia to Portland and Oregon City.

San Francisco needed lumber and supplies and his boats were able to deliver. Things got so good that flour was needed, so he built a flour mill here at Mill Creek. It was so busy that the first road from Tualatin, where the wheat was, to Milwaukie, was laid just for getting those goods to Milwaukie. Of course Lot Whitcomb produced the shipping barrels as well. Milwaukie was so populated that it had a tin shop, 3 general stores, a blacksmith, a hotel, and 3 taverns, plus a printing press where he started our first newspaper called the Western Star.

Lot Whitcomb gave back to this town by donating the material for the first school house and church. Lot Whitcomb charted the first wheat syndicate in Oregon. By 1850 Milwaukie had the greatest center of commerce in the state and was the first official Port of Call on the Willamette River.

Lot Whitcomb lived hard and died young at age 50 in 1857. Although Milwaukie was still the King of shipbuilding, the city started to decline. The Portland Boys Kerr and Ainsworth, who incidentally, were Lot Whitcomb’s captains for his vessels, dumped the rock ballasts from their ships at Ross Island, reducing Milwaukie’s ability to barge up the River.

Portland’s First Water House
Look across the Bay a bit to the North and notice a pink building right along the shore. It is the old Palatine Hill Pump house that pumped water for Portland residents beginning operation in 1887. It is now an 8 bedroom 8 and one half bath private residence.

History of Bay
Milwaukie Bay was part of a volcano crater and continued to be shaped by the Missoula floods and glaciers grinding over time. It used to be the mouth of the Clackamas River until a big earthquake shifted its flow South near Gladstone.

Elk Rock Island
The Island to the South is named Elk Rock and is the oldest exposed rock in the region. It was left over from a 40 million year old volcano. Lot Whitcomb used it to launch his ships, then it became a playground for the Portland rich as a dance hall, then a living quarters for the Renfrow family who tended the light on the to keep ships from hitting the rocks and finally a Milwaukie owned park by the name of Peter Kerr. Please visit Lot’s Loop stops B-G for more information.

Milwaukie Bay Park
This area was industrial use with Lot Whitcomb’s industries, then converted to log booms and buildings. A recreational boat ramp was added and in the early 2000’s, City of Milwaukie started to develop plans to showcase its riverfront. Milwaukie Bay Riverfront Park opened in May 2015 and was created through a funding partnership with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Marine Board, Clackamas County, Kellogg Good Neighbor Committee, and City of Milwaukie. Amenities include a boat ramp, restroom, and fishing opportunities. Milwaukie Bay Park is being built in three phases. Phase one was the completion of Klein Point, Phase two was the boat ramp, grass, and other amenities, Phase three will include an amphitheater, water feature, and a playground.



Kellogg Creek Bridge

The Kellogg Creek Bridge crosses Kellogg Creek, its dam and associated fish ladder. The fish ladder, for all of its good intentions, is actually an impediment to salmon and steelhead migration. A long term goal of the city is to remove the dam on Kellogg Creek. To do so, the bridge supporting Hwy 99E will need to be rebuilt, as the bridge uses the dam as part of its support system.

Birds & Animals

Whilst looking west toward the Willamette River, watch for belted kingfishers and river otters at the mouth of Kellogg Creek. Blue herons fish along the banks and at the mouth of the creek where it enters into Milwaukie Bay, a part of the Willamette River.

Watch overhead for bald eagles, osprey, and turkey vultures.



Log Boom Sea Wall

This southern parking lot in the Milwaukie Bay Park was the site of a grist mill – the Standard Flour Mill, and then a logging deck where logs that were floated down the Willamette River were removed from the river with a crane and loaded on trucks to be shipped to a saw mill.

Standard Flour Mill

The Standard Mill is not just a place of great commerce but a lasting piece of Milwaukie and Oregon History.

Standard Mill was built by Joseph Kellogg, WJ Bradbury, and HW Eddy. It was located at the mouth of Kellogg Creek and turned wheat from Tualatin into the purest flour in Oregon. The machinery was designed by Kellogg but was crafted by the volunteer fire chief, Peter Taylor. The ingenuity of the millwright who invented the apparatus to separate foreign matter in the grain that discolored the flour helped make this flour so pure. This mill also had the first elevator in America and it was powered by Kellogg Creek. The brand of flour was Red Cross which was shipped primarily from Whitcomb’s boat enterprise all over the Willamette, Columbia, and California mines and Cities.

The Standard Mill created Kellogg Lake; the creek was first dammed in 1858 to run the grinding mill and elevator. The Lake remained privately held for many years and provided recreation and entertainment for those who lived in what was then called Ladd Estates.

The Standard Mill was the only standing mill after the great Willamette flood of 1861. In fact, this flood is one of the most destructive floods on the Willamette lasting from October 1861 to the spring of 1862 on not only the Willamette but down the West Coast and East into Idaho. November 1861 brought cold weather and the mountains were full of snow, but none in the Willamette Valley. In December of 1861the sun came out for a few weeks, melting some of the snow on the peaks. The water level rose in the Valley. The next couple of weeks brought warm rain and the snow melted off the mountains. The Willamette River rose to extreme heights. One report said that ships could cross over the Oregon City falls the water was so high!

The flood waters washed out the first floor of the mill, but its pilings held strong and the machinery remained intact. It is a huge compliment to its builders and the timbers, which came from Milwaukie lands. The Standard Flour Mill was still in production and still able to produce 100 barrels of flour a day. But here is the true testament of the Standard Flour Mill; at the time price gouging was not regulated and the mill was ripe to take advantage of high price and high demand. It was offered $7.00 a barrel for its flour in speculation, but the owners refused. They preferred to retail at the same price to persons in need. This is truly a statement of charity over profits.

The Standard Mill’s hey day soon dwindled and it closed in 1879 as Portland became the Port of Delivery. It stood vacant on the riverfront for a long time as a reminder to the time when Milwaukie was a powerhouse in Oregon economy. In 1901 it finally fell, but remains in the hearts of Milwaukians till this day.

Birds & Animals
Watch for belted kingfishers and river otters below the seawall at the mouth of Kellogg Creek. Blue herons fish along the banks of the creek and where it enters into Milwaukie Bay. Watch overhead for bald eagles, osprey, and turkey vultures.



The Kellogg Water Resource Recovery Facility was built in 1951 and is managed by Clackamas County’s Water and Environmental Services (WES). During the 1964 flood the waters came up to the top of the two round tanks next to the River Trail – yes, you would have been about 10′ under water where you stand.

The asphalt path was rebuilt in 2016 under the direction of the Kellogg Good Neighbor Committee (KGNC). The KGNC works with WES to make the Kellogg Water Resource Recovery Facility a better neighbor to the surrounding neighborhoods and the City. To this end they have planted shrubs and trees around the facility, and made improvements to Kellogg Creek Park.

Watch for squirrels in the trees in the park, along with a number of birds: Stellars jays, scrub jays, mourning doves, spotted sided towhees, robins, English sparrows, and house finches. Occasionally you might see a beaver or river otter in the river below the park.

There is a large variety of trees in the park and along the river bank: black locust, cedar, Douglas fir, cotton wood, redwood and white oak.



This is the start of the City’s first woonerf (pronounced voo-nerf), a street without sidewalks where pedestrians have the right-of-way over motor vehicles and bicycles, and bicycles have the right-of-way over motor vehicles.

From this vantage point, if you turn around and look back downstream you have a wonderful view of all of Milwaukie Bay.



Below 19th Avenue is either an arm of the Willamette River, during high water (typically in winter and spring), or a cove, during low water (in summer and fall). Elk Rock Island lies just beyond the cove. If the water is low enough, you might see hikers walking on the Island’s eastern trail just above the shoreline.

If you look south, in the direction you have been traveling, and slightly to your right (toward the river) you will see a cottonwood tree about two blocks away. Look close at the top of the tree and you will see a large mass of limbs, which is a bald eagle nest.

A pair of bald eagles raised two fledglings in each summer of 2013, 2014 and 2015. They abandoned the nest in 2016 and Ospreys have been seen fishing in the cove since that time. Bald eagles continue to be seen flying around Elk Rock Island, but they have not occupied the nest since 2016. Perhaps they will come back in the future and use the nest again.

The river is affected by the tides clear up to Willamette Falls in Oregon City, and the river level can move up and down between 3-5 feet twice a day. In the summer when river levels are low and the tide is out the Great blue herons like to come and fish along the edge of the water.

Boaters are often surprised by the big swings in the level of the river. In the summer of 2017 a sail boat anchored in the cove below stop #8. The next morning she was found high and dry and on her side. A neighbor found that the next high tide would be at 8:30 AM, and he waded out above his knees and with the help of another man, was able to pull on the halyard line (the one attached to the top of the mast) and pull the sail boat over on its side to free the keel from the mud. That allowed the sail boat to motor out to deep water and go on its way.



Welcome to Elk Rock Natural Area, entering through Spring Park Natural Area and Peter Kerr Park (which includes Elk Rock Island.)

Spring Park was purchased by the City of Milwaukie from Hilda Keller in 1971. In 1980, the City of Milwaukie vacated much of Lark St. (aka 6th St.) on the south edge of Spring Park. In 1980, to correct an encroachment problem, Milwaukie traded a .25 acre portion of the vacated street to the property owner to the south, with the City acquiring approximately .36 acres adjacent to the Willamette River. The south boundary, as adjusted, was re-surveyed in 1988-89 (Gaylord) and again in 2018 to verify the boundary.

Elk Rock Island was originally part of Lot Whitcomb’s Donation Land Claim and was historically called Whitcomb Island. The island changed ownership several times before coming into Peter Kerr’s possession on March 19th, 1910.

In 2017 Peter Kerr Park was transferred from the City of Portland to the City of Milwaukie for $1.00.

The path through the Natural Area was upgraded in the fall of 2015, and the fish habitat was upgraded in the cove with large logs chained to the river bottom. After you cross the foot bridge over one of the marsh areas you will walk around the corner to the observation point that looks out over the cove where you can see blue herons, ducks, geese and occasionally turtles and beaver. If you continue on the trail you will be able to see if the river level is low enough to walk out to Whitcomb Island.



Clackamas Native Americans

This area was the home of the Clackamas Indians who lived in permanent winter villages and in seasonal settlements. Our local Native Americans, as part of the Upper Chinookan speaking people, the Clackamas lived on the East bank of the Willamette River below Tumwata or Willamette Falls and along the east bank of the Willamette River to St. John’s into the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. In 1805 Lewis and Clark estimated a Clackamas population of 4,650. Fur traders, missionaries, and white settlers introduced diseases that decimated the Clackamas. By 1853, only 78 remained, a decline of 98 percent. The Clackamas were among the tribes that signed theWillamette Valley Treaty of 1855, which ceded land from the Columbia River to Calapooia Mountains South of Eugene and from the Crest of the Cascades to the Crest of the Coast range. In 1856 the Clackamas, along with other Tribes across Western Oregon were forcibly removed to the Grande Ronde Indian Reservation.

Clackamas connections to the natural world:

“Coyote decided he would build a big waterfall, so that the salmon would come to the surface for spearing” Excerpt from The Clackamas story “Coyote Builds Willamette Falls and the Magic Fish Trap”

Each year The Grand Ronde Peoples following in the traditions of their Clackamas ancestors, honor salmon through a First Fish Ceremony. This ancient practice has helped ensure abundant salmon runs since time immemorial. The tradition requires that a ceremonial fish is caught at the onset of a run, a community feast held, and the fish’s bones returned to the river. For five days after the ceremony, no one is allowed to fish, ensuring that fish get up river to spawn. A local legend has it that Elk Rock in the Willamette River near Milwaukie is named for Elk that were driven off a high cliff across the water. One account names an early settler hunting party as the origin of the name, after pursuing an elk they drove it off the cliff. Some locals think the tradition of driving elk of the cliff began with the Clackamas. While the Clackamas were noted fishermen, hunters, and gatherers, their way of life did not include agriculture as we know it. Instead their way of 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 the people stayed mostly within their winter villages; practicing their utilitarian art as well as sharing stories with one another.

Birds & Animals

Watch for bald eagles in the tree tops on Whitcomb Island and osprey flying over the cove looking for fish. Bald eagles will swoop over the water and reach down with their talons to catch a fish. Osprey will dive down and into the water feet first to catch a fish, creating a large splash in doing so.

Blue herons fly over the area, and occasionally land close to shore just below the observation point to look for small fish.

Keep an eye out in the water for beaver and turtles. In the spring you might find sea lions or seals in the cove and around Whitcomb Island. Sea lions and seals follow the Columbia River down to Willamette Falls in search of salmon and steelhead.

Where the River Crosses the Road

See a path to Elk Rock Island? When the Willamette River water is low enough, Elk Rock Island becomes a peninsula and Peter Kerr Park is accessible by foot. This opens up a 1 mile loop trail around Peter Kerr Park. Elk Rock Island has 6 different ecological areas. To see if you can gain access to Peter Kerr Park, VISIT HERE  and check the “Gauge Height, Feet” graph for river level. If the river level is 6 ft or less, then you have access to Peter Kerr Park.



This is the start of the trail system on Elk Rock Island.

WARNING: Elk Rock Island has poison oak growing on it. To avoid the itchy rash resulting from contact with poison oak, please stay on the designated paths.

Elk Rock Island was originally named Lot Whitcomb Island as it was part of Lot Whitcomb’s original Donation Land Claim. Lot Whitcomb launched his steamships from the island. Peter Kerr changed the name to Elk Rock Island.

In 1910, Portland grain exporter Peter Kerr acquired the property from the Rock Island Club, which operated a dance hall on the island.

The Peter Kerr family deeded Elk Rock Island to the City of Portland in November 30, 1940, with the requirement that the island “be used solely as a public park or playground, or for public park or public playground purposes, for the use and enjoyment of the public generally”. Portland City Council authorized the acceptance of the island by ordinance 74751, recorded on January 8, 1941. Both the deed and the ordinance designated the island as Peter Kerr Park. The Kerr family formally dedicated the island on Peter Kerr’s 93rd birthday, October 29, 1954. When the Kerr family donated the island to the City of Portland in 1940 it was renamed Elk Rock Island. The island and Elk Rock, the rock face on the western bank of the Willamette River made up Peter Kerr Park. In 2017 the City of Portland agreed to transfer the ownership of the island to the City of Milwaukie.

40 million years ago the ocean shore was up next to the current location of the Cascade Mountains. Whitcomb Island is part of a volcano that erupted two miles below the ocean’s surface, well before the rise of the Cascade peaks. Lava flows formed the predominant bedrock called Waverly Heights Basalt, which may be the oldest exposed rock in the Portland area. The island is accessible by foot when the Willamette River is low, via a 40 million-year-old land bridge extending from the Spring Park Natural Area.

The predominant bedrock geology of the Elk Rock Island and Spring Park consists of Waverly Heights Basalt which is particularly interesting due to its age. Formed in the mid and late Eocene Period (between 36.6 and 52 million years ago), the rock substantially predates the more common Columbia River Basalts of the Miocene Period (10 to 25 million years ago).

Elk Rock Island is of particular interest to geologists because the Basalt is well exposed. It should be noted that Waverly Heights Basalt does exist in a substantial way in the Lake Oswego/Tryon Creek area, but there it is largely overtopped with mineral soils.

The relative hardness of this Basalt explains why Elk Rock Island exists. The later and softer basalts were more easily eroded by the Willamette River, leaving the intrusion of Waverly Heights Basalt in the line of the river, creating the island and the narrows to the west.

Spring Park is part Waverly Heights Basalt and part mixed alluvium deposits of a relatively recent period.

The Elk Rock escarpment is composed of two mid-Miocene Period basalts.

Elk Rock Island has seven different distinct ecological/vegetative areas:

1. Willamette River or Basalt Floodplain

2. Emergent Wetland
o An area inundated or saturated by surface or ground water that under normal conditions supports wetland obligate vegetation dominated by grasses and forbs.

3. Mesic (moderate amount of moisture) Upland Forest
o A forest dominated by upland plants requiring moderate soil moisture, being poorly adapted to either drought or waterlogged conditions.

4. Riparian Forest

5. Cliff or Rock Face

6. Xeric (dry) Upland Forest
o A forest dominated by upland plants with some drought tolerance.

7. Willamette Valley Grassland

The 13-acre island on the Willamette River is a protected natural area and haven for bald eagles, blue heron, osprey and other wildlife. Accessible by foot via Spring Park Natural Area when the river is low, Whitcomb Island features rare Oregon white oak trees reaching out with gnarled limbs. Mossy rocks shelter the glistening vernal pools and the wind rattles the bare branches of madrone trees. 6

A white oak restoration project was begun in 2010 with the removal of Douglas fir trees that were shading the Oregon white oak trees. Without the removal of the fir trees the white oak trees would have been overtaken and died due to lack of sun. The shrub area under the white oaks was restored with the planting of ocean spray, honeysuckle and wildflowers like the bastard toadflax and Columbia lily.

About 40 Douglas fir trees were removed and transported by tug boat downriver to the mouth of Johnson Creek as part of a fish restoration project. The logs were anchored on the edge of Johnson Creek to provide salmon habitat. To help prevent social trails in the newly opened up oak/prairie landscape boughs from the fallen fir trees were placed next to the formal trails to encourage visitors to stay on the paths.

Among the volunteers to help with the restoration project was Charles Bird, a long-time member of Friends of Elk Rock Island, a group dedicated to restoration work on the island. He noted that some people may get upset when they see trees being cut down on the island but noted, “It’s our responsibility to repair an ecosystem that we’ve damaged.”

Each of these ecological communities provide food, cover, roosting, wintering, and summer breeding habitat for numerous species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. It is the combination of these communities (habitat types) in addition to proximity to the Willamette River, adjacent riparian areas along the river, Lake Oswego uplands and isolation from major development, that contribute to the richness and diversity of plant and animal species. Monthly bird surveys have been conducted since August of 1985; 61 different species of birds have been observed. Plant surveys have been conducted for the past ten years. Several endemic (generally found in a certain geographic area) and threatened plant species are known to grow on the island.

Basalt Floodplain
This large expanse of Waverly basalt is seasonally flooded, with little to no vegetation present during the dry times of the year. However, small wet season pools provide habitat for some aquatic plants and invertebrates. The exposed rocks provide habitat for killdeer and other shorebird species.

Emergent Wetland
The portions of Spring Park north of the trail form a wetland basin surrounded by a riparian forest. The soils have been heavily compacted and adjacent land use has probably altered the hydrology, limiting water level fluctuations. Phalaris arundinacea (reed canarygrass), an exotic species, is the dominant plant species. It out-competes many of the native wetland plant species such as Iris sp. (water iris), Typha latifolia (cattail), Juncus spp. (rushes) Carex spp. (sedges), and Salix lasiandra (willow). Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife), determined to be a noxious weed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, is starting to establish within the wetland basin. Because it quickly dominates native emergent vegetation communities and substantially reduces habitat diversity, it is considered very detrimental.

The emergent wetland, particularly the reed canarygrass, is excellent mosquito habitat. There are two wetland areas on the west side of Elk Rock Island. The larger of the two, to the south, adjacent to the old boat slip, is vegetated with Juncus effusus (soft rush), Mentha sp. (pennyroyal), Bidens repens (beggar’s tick), and Chenopodium sp. (lamb’s quarters) along the river silt littoral, with Salix lasiandra (willow) and Phalaris arundinacea (reed canarygrass) occupying the higher slopes. Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife), an invasive exotic plant, is a problem in this area.

Mesic Upland Forest
The interior of Elk Rock Island is dominated by Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas fir) and Acer macrophyllum (big leaf maple) with an understory of Symphoricarpos albus (snowberry), Gaultheria shallon (salal), and Berberis aquifolium (tall Oregon grape). Lilium columbianum (Columbia lily), Trillium ovatum (trillium), and Smilacina racemosa (false solomon’s seal) are typical groundcover species of the forested area.

There are five major exotic plants that grow within the forested interior of Elk Rock Island that warrant mention: Hedera helix (English ivy), Rubus discolor (Himalayan blackberry), Ilex aquafolium (English holly), Vinca major (periwinkle) and Clematis (Virgin’s bower). All five are in great density, especially the English ivy, and warrant special management, as they appear to be replacing native vegetation.

The forest composition on the northeastern end of Elk Rock Island changes slightly from that of the interior. Populus trichocarpa (black cottonwood), Fraxinus latifolia (Oregon white ash), Crataegus douglasii (Douglas hawthorn), and Rosa sp. (rose) are the dominant plant species.

This is a Populus trichocarpa (black cottonwood) dominated community with Salix lasiandra (willow) and Fraxinus latifolia (Oregon ash) of secondary importance. Rubus discolor (Himalayan blackberry), Equisetum spp. (horsetail), Urtica dioica (stinging nettle), and Symphoricarpos albus (common snowberry) are the major components of the understory.

Rock Face
The rock faces of Elk Rock on the west side of the Willamette River and the northwest corner and south end of Elk Rock Island are sparsely vegetated with a combination of mosses, lichens, ferns, and other shallow-rooted plant species. Here, Sedum spathulifolium (stonecrop) and Spiraea betulifolia (birch-leaf spirea), plants that generally grow in warm, dry habitats, are found growing with Polypodium glycyrrhiza (polypody) and several moss species indicative of moister shadier environments. This combination of plants is unusual within the Portland Metropolitan area. Cytisus scoparius (Scotch broom) and Populus trichocarpa (black cottonwood) are establishing.

Willamette Valley Grassland
The grasslands located on the western portion of Spring Park and the south and southwest portions of Elk Rock Island are remnants of the once common Willamette Valley Grassland. Bromus carinatus, Festuca magulana, and Agrostis alba are native grass species found growing within the Park. Human disturbance has impacted the vegetative community, affecting the plant species composition. Plant species are predominantly exotic (not originally from this area, often out-competing native plants) rather than native. Exotics are frequently indicative of disturbance. Senecio jacobaea (tansy ragwort) and Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace) are exotics found here.

Xeric Upland Forest
The xeric upland forest, found on the southern and northwestern portions of the island, is dominated by Quercus garryana (Oregon white oak) and Arbutus menziesii (Pacific madrone) with some Acer macrophyllum (big leaf maple), and Rhus diversiloba (poison oak). Brodiaea congesta and Brodiaea hyacinthina (brodaea), Iris tenax (iris) are flowering plants found in the understory. Some Cytisus scoparius (Scotch broom) an exotic species is beginning to establish. This vegetative community is uncommon in the Portland Metropolitan area, more commonly found in Southwestern Oregon.

Rare and Unusual Plants
Several rare or unusual plants can be found in the Elk Rock Island Natural Area. In particular, several native wildflower species grow on Elk Rock Island. Little is known about vegetation on the Elk Rock escarpment on the west side of the river. What has been observed is discussed below.

Several plants not rare or threatened, but no longer commonly seen in the Portland-Vancouver landscape, grow on the island. These include Taxus brevifolia (Western or Pacific yew), Lilium columbianum (Tiger lily), Brodiaea sp. (cluster lily), Goodyera oblongifolia (Rattlesnake plantain).

Delphinium leucophaeum, the White Rock Larkspur, was reported to have been observed on the Elk Rock escarpment on the west side of the Willamette River. This species is considered threatened throughout its range and is a candidate for federal and state protection. Currently it has “Category 2” status with for federal listing which means more information is needed by US Fish & Wildlife. Its preferred habitat is on moist rocky cliffs.

The above delphinium was also reported to possibly be Delphinium pavonaceum, a Willamette Valley species and also a candidate species for federal and state protection. It has “Category 1” status, meaning there is sufficient information for the federal list.

A plant of the Saxifrage Family has also been reportedly observed on Elk Rock Island. It is described as having yellow flowers. It is not known if it is a Saxifraga species or if it is a related genera. Possibilities include Sullivantia oregana and Bolandra oregana. Both are yellow flowering members of the Saxifrage Family. Sullivantia has “Category 2” status for the federal list, and both are candidate for the state list.

One Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa pine) has been observed on the island. It is unknown whether it occurred naturally or if it was planted.

The unusual and rare wildflower species found on the island are relatively small populations and are exposed to human impacts (e.g., trampling, digging, and picking). English ivy also poses a threat as it is approaching the south end of the island where the Tiger lilies and Goodyera are located. The northwest corner of the island provides a rock face which should be protected for its plant habitat value.

Because of its inaccessibility and unique conditions, the Elk Rock escarpment on the west side of the river may have value for growing managed populations of rare plant species.

Birds Found on Elk Rock Island

American Coot
American Crow
American Goldfinch
American Robin
American Widgeon
Anna’s Hummingbird
Barn Swallow
Belted Kingfisher
Bewick’s Wren
Black-capped Chickadee
Black-headed Grosbeak
Brewer’s Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
California Gull
Canada goose
Cedar Waxwing
Cinnamon Teal
Common Merganser
Dark-eyed Junco
Downey Woodpecker
European Starling
Fox Sparrow
Glaucous-winged Gull
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Gray Catbird
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Hermit Thrush
Herring Gull
House Finch
Lapland Longspur
Mallard duck
Mourning Dove
N. Rough-winged Swallow
North Flicker
Northern Shrike
Pied-billed Grebe
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-winged Blackbird
Ring-Necked Pheasant
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Rufous-sided Towhee
Scrub Jay
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Song Sparrow
Spotted Sandpiper
Steller’s jay
Turkey Vulture
Vaux’s Swift
Violet-green Swallow
Western Grebe
Western Gull
Willow Flycatcher
Winter Wren
Wood Duck



Wikipedia describes vernal pools, also called vernal ponds or ephemeral pools, as temporary pools of water that provide habitat for distinctive plants and animals. They are considered to be a distinctive type of wetland usually devoid of fish, and thus allow the safe development of natal amphibian and insect species unable to withstand competition or predation by fish.

Despite being dry at times, vernal pools teem with life when filled. The most obvious inhabitants are various species of breeding frogs and toads. Some salamanders also utilize vernal pools for reproduction, but the adults may visit the pool only briefly.

Vernal pools can form anywhere that a depression fills with water. They can be found on bedrock of many kinds, or in grasslands that form over a variety of soil types containing silts and clays. They can develop hydric soils which are typical of flooded areas, including accumulations of organic matter, but this may not happen in drier areas. In some cases there is a hard pan layer which causes the retention of water in the pools. The hardpan clay basin accumulates water due to the small particle size and therefore reduced porosity. This permits flooding and development of vernal pools.



Over 200 million years ago (mya) all of Oregon was ocean bottom. Over the next 150 million years, as the Pacific Ocean plate slowly subducted under the North American plate, seafloor and volcanic islands were scraped off onto the continental plate. Eventually, around 40-30 mya, a chain of islands plowed into the plate and began forming the Coast Mountains. These same ancient basaltic rocks, known as the Waverly Heights Formation, became the underlying strata of the Tryon Creek area – and can still be seen here today.

The Columbia River Basalts
Over the succeeding 10-15 million years, uplift and erosion continued to sculpt the initially flat landscape – until about 15 mya a new phase of extraordinary volcanism began. Enormous vents in eastern Oregon tore open and began to pour out lava. Over thousands of years, unimaginable quantities of lava (known as the Columbia River basalts) flowed across the land, down the ancestral Columbia River, into the Portland basin and the Willamette Valley, and out into the ocean. But somehow it never over-topped the Waverly Heights basalts, making it a very rare place indeed.

The Boring Lavas
Meanwhile, the forest grew and evolved, different plant and animal species came and went, and countless years passed. About 1-2 mya, another volcanic phase occurred. This was the period of the Boring Lavas (named for vents near Boring, OR), where local volcanoes such as Mt Tabor, Cook Butte, and Mt. Sylvania erupted and poured yet more lava across the land. As it turned out, however, the flows from Mt Sylvania only impacted the western edge of Tryon Creek Park – thus largely leaving the Waverly basalts once again untouched.

Missoula Floods
Ironically, even as those ribbons of fire flowed, the land was in the firm grip of an ice age, as it had been for a couple million years. Then, around 12,000 years ago, an enormous glacial lake in the vicinity of Missoula, Montana was being held back by a slowly warming and weakening ice dam. Ultimately, the ice dam failed, hurtling a 400′ foot wall of water, ice, and stone down the Columbia River toward Portland. By the time this torrent reached Tryon Creek, it was still 100′-150′ deep – scouring the soil back down to the Waverly basalts. This devastating flood wreaked havoc with forests and streams across the entire Columbia River watershed – and was repeated as many as 100 times!

Content from Tyron Creek Naturalist Notes website



Navigation Beacon

As you stand at this point imagine a time when the Willamette River served as shipping highway for. The river was used to transport goods from Oregon City to Portland before roads and highways were constructed. Here is a standing monument to those times. During the early 20th century an oil fueled beacon once stood to warn ships of Elk Rock Island. There was a rustic cabin with a wood stove here in 1920 that was occupied by Otto and Eva Renfrow with son Ray. The government paid Mr. Renfrow a pittance to man the lantern but work was hard to find. He had to fill the beacon with oil every night and light it, turn it out every morning, and wash the globe out (soap was furnished by the government). He also looked after the island dance hall. The family lived rent free in a cabin on the island for their duties, but in 1922 the main water pipe to the island broke, was never replaced, and the Renfrow’s could only get water by filling buckets from the main land. This incident became the end of living on Elk Rock Island; Eva Renfrow said she never set foot on the island again. Ray became an employee at Perry’s Pharmacy. The oil lamp was replaced and an electronic beacon was put in its place.

Stone Dock

The stone dock was used as a launching point for Lot Whitcomb’s ships. Enjoy the article below about the launching of Lot Whitcomb Christmas 1850. Although met with fanfare, it did have tragedy. To celebrate the launching, Captain Morse was in a different boat ready to fire ceremonial cannons during the launch. One of the cannons exploded, sinking Captain Morse’s vessel taking him down with his ship. He is the only known Captain to die on the Willamette River while on his vessel.

The Launching of the Lot Whitcomb December 25, 1850

‘To the Oregon Spectator
Milwaukie, Dec. 4 1850

GENTLEMEN — Your’s bearing date 10th inst. is before me, apprising me of the meeting held by the citizens and members of the Legislative Assembly on the 7th inst., in which the committee appointed to express to me the sense of such meeting, as well as to notify me of the name that they should decide on for the New Steamer being built at Milwaukie, Your committee will first please accept my most unfeigned and sincere respects, and through you to the citizens and legislative assembly I beg leave to tender my hearty thanks for the honor they have done me.

I cannot but feel proud at this much of respect shown me. It always has been my earnest desire to keep pace with, and assist in forwarding any improvement proposed in this my adopted country, and rest assured the compliment you have paid me in naming the Steamer “Lot Whitcomb of Oregon” will tend to add another impetus to my desire. With my best wishes to all, I subscribe myself, Gentlemen.
Your ob’t serv’t

Oregon Spectator, January 2, 1851

‘The launching of a steamboat, such as the capacity of the one that heads this article, was something new in the Territory. We have been informed that it was participated in by a large number of person, residents and strangers. Christmas was truly a proud day for Milwaukie. We regret to state that the death of a very estimable man, occurred, the Star says: That of CAPT. F. MORSE, of the Schooner Merchantman, while in the act of touching fire to a cannon, was instantly killed by the bursting of the piece which was blown into atoms, and fragments scattered about for some distance – injuring no one, however, but Capt. MORSE. A fragment of the gun struck him in the neck below the jaw, carrying away one-half of the contents of the neck, breaking the vertebrae of the neck and lower jaw-bone — Thus it ever is, with us mortals, — truly “in the midst of life we are in death.”

Capt. MORSE was a man who had acquired many warm friends here; and whom a short acquaintance with, had strongly prepossessed us in his favor and his untimely fate has cast a gloom over our mind which we cannot easily dispel. He leaves a family, we understand, at New Bern, North Carolina.

his being the day for launching this new and beautiful Steamer, which has been built here, within the last few months, naturally called together a large assemblage of people from the surrounding country, to witness the launch of a steamer, the product of the enterprise and energy of one of our most worthy citizens, which must be of incalculable benefit to the interests of Oregon.

At about 3 o’clock P.M., everything being in readiness, and a goodly number on board, she was cut loose from her fastenings, like a meteor from the heavens. Everything being so well arranged, she went off safely without any straining of the boat, or any other damage or accident.

Great credit is due to the constructor, Wm. L. Hanscom, for the fine model, and the workmanlike manner in which she has been built; and also for the nice arrangements perfected for the safe and expeditious launch, which we had the pleasure of witnessing.’



This is an article from Milwaukee Bee June 29, 1907:

“The Rock Island club was formally opened Saturday for the season and hundreds of members and their families were royally entertained. The picturesque island opposite Milwaukee has been artistically beautified and the club house is as convenient as could be desired. Dancing in the spacious dining room was a marked feature of the opening. Refreshments were served on the large verandas that surround the club house. The improvements to the grounds as well as the club house this year are many, and the members will be surprised at the transformation that has been going on since the close of last season. A pontoon bridge connects the island with the mainland over the east channel, and the difficulty of having to cross to and from the island in boats is thereby eliminated.”

Yes, a dance club right where you are standing on Elk Rock Island! Originally built by Peter Kerr around 1902 or 1903 for Portland Rowing Club (the owners of the island at the time), it soon became a summer getaway for Portland elite. Many Portland elite built summer homes in Milwaukie as the Portland Traction Line (Trolley) could easily bring them to Milwaukie. The club would open in May and close in September. It would offer dancing every Sunday afternoon and evening and every evening except Monday. It was then leased to the Smith’s who expanded and improved the Dance Hall. Tragically, the dance hall caught on fire in 1916 with Mrs. Smith and her 82 year old grandmother barely escaping. The Rock Island Club was rebuilt including a new dancing hall, a sort of an open air pergola, and numerous tent houses for camping and opened in May 1917. By May 22, 1924, when Peter Kerr purchased the island, the Portland Rowing Club posted “No landings are allowed on Rock Island, except by authority of Portland Rowing Club, or their caretaker on the island. All trespassers will be prosecuted”



There are several madrone trees located next to the cliffs in this area.

Information provided by US Forest Service website:

Pacific madrone is native to the west coast. It occurs from southwestern British Columbia, where it is restricted to water-shedding sites on southeastern Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and adjacent coastal mainland, southward through Washington, Oregon, and California in the coastal mountains and west slopes of the Sierra Nevada. The southern limit of Pacific madrone is on Mount Palomar in San Diego County, California. Pacific madrone has not been collected or reported in Mexico.

A review indicates that Pacific madrone is a major component of Douglas-fir-tanoak -Pacific madrone forests. These forests are characterized by an overstory of Douglas-fir with tanoak and Pacific madrone sharing the secondary canopy in varying proportions. Pacific madrone is a minor component in a variety of cover types, commonly intermingling with redwood, western hemlock, Oregon white oak, and Pacific ponderosa pine throughout its distribution.

Mixed stands of hardwoods and conifers in which Pacific madrone occurs provide thermal, hiding, and escape cover for big game and small mammals, and perching sites for a variety of bird species. Both open-nesting and cavity-nesting birds utilize Pacific madrone. Preliminary research on cavity-nesting species within mixed-evergreen forests in northwestern California indicates that Pacific madrone is selected as a nest tree at a higher rate than its availability would suggest. Trees greater than 12 inches (30 cm) in DBH are an important habitat component for primary cavity-nesting species such as the red-breasted sapsucker and hairy woodpecker. Secondary cavity nesters such as the acorn woodpecker, downy woodpecker, mountain chickadee, house wren, and western bluebird also use Pacific madrone. Pacific madrone berries are an important food for deer, birds, and other small mammals because they are produced in large quantities and may persist on the tree in winter, when alternative food sources are limited. The berries are an important food for the dark-eyed junco, fox sparrow, varied thrush, band-tailed pigeon, quail, and long-tailed chat.



You are next to the Amadeus Manor parking lot and the former restaurant located at the end of the drive winding up the hill. It closed permanently in 2017.

Amadeus Manor is a turn of the century estate built in the hills above Milwaukie. It overlooks the Willamette River all the way down to the Portland skyline. The mansion itself is three stories of stone and plaster filled with chandeliers, Persian rugs, and roaring fireplaces.

Story has it that construction began in 1921 by G.L. Shearer, a lumber baron, who wanted an estate that looked over industry on the Willamette. But work was halted with the stock market crash in 1929 until it was purchased and completed by Earl McInnes, manager of the Multnomah Hotel, in 1941. The estate was then renamed Fernwood Manor. The manor changed hands several times over the years, eventually being picked up by two restauranteurs in 1974, who renamed it the “Fernwood Inn.”

However, by 1994, the building had fallen into disrepair. But Kristina Poppemeier came across it and fell in love with the building and view, and oversaw renovations herself. Kristina, an Austrian native and owner of the Amadeus Restaurant in Lake Oswego, decided that there would be no more perfect setting than here for “Amadeus Manor”. Currently it is a private residence.



Entering Oak Grove

The Oak Grove town site was first platted in 1890 from the original Creighton and Crow donation land claims (DLCs) of the 1830s and 1840s. Subsequent additions and subdivisions of the original Oak Grove plat show clear evidence that the area was marked for investment and growth as a result of the trolley line’s introduction early in 1893. In anticipation of, and following the construction of the East Side Railway interurban trolley line, farmers in the area found that they could make more money developing their land than they could farming it. Farms were subdivided and roads started to appear crisscrossing the landscape. More and more trolley stops started appearing as Portlanders began moving out into the “country”. The Oak Grove Station at the intersection of Central Ave. and the trolley line became a bustling business center. However, the town site never incorporated and when the “Super 99” highway was built in the 1930’s, and when the trolley line ceased to operate in the 1950’s, the once vigorous center floundered.

The town site was originally served from the Milwaukie post office. It opened its own post office in 1904. First called the ‘Creighton Station’ due to duplicate use of the name elsewhere on the trolley line, the postal station name was changed permanently to ‘Oak Grove’ when the confusion was sorted out and corrected in 1907.

The author of Oregon Geographic Names credits a member of the late 1880’s survey team, surveying the town site, for suggesting the name Oak Grove, based on an area they came upon for lunch — “a fine grove of oak trees in the northwest part of the tract.”



At the top of the cell tower that sits just to the left (south) of the electrical substation is an osprey nest. The nest is a large collection of tree limbs stacked about three feet tall on top of the cell phone transmission tower.

Osprey is a fish hawk and is only found near the water. Their diet only consists of fish. Comparatively, the bald eagle will eat fish, ducks, snakes, rabbits and almost any kind of meat it can scavenge. To catch a fish osprey will fly over the water, flapping their wings quickly to allow them to hover in place. When fish come close to the surface of the water, the osprey will dive into the water, feet first, to catch it. With a couple of flaps of their wings they begin to fly and after a short distance will shake off the water in flight.

The bald eagle will also catch fish, but rather than fly into the water they will fly just over the surface of the water reaching down with their talons to grab the fish.



Oak Grove’s rich history can be traced along its six-mile Trolley Trail. This bike and pedestrian trail follows the historic streetcar line that took passengers from Portland to Oregon City from 1893 until 1958. With TriMet’s completion of the Orange Line in 2015, people can again take the train from Portland to Oak Grove, where a final stop connects with the Trolley Trail.

Sitting 9 miles south of Portland, Oak Grove lies between Milwaukie and Jennings Lodge with the Willamette as the western boundary and Oatfield Road the eastern boundary. The Oak Grove town site was first platted in 1890. There are numerous historical houses on the tree lined streets. In 2017 citizens succeeded in preventing the vacant historic Concord School from being demolished.

Besides bicycling, walking and jogging on the Trolley Trail, fishing and boating are available on the Willamette River. In 2014 Forbes magazine listed Oak Grove as one of the 25 best suburbs for retirement in the United States.

Oak Grove is unincorporated, i.e. not a city or part of a city. CPOs (Community Planning Organizations) were established in 1973 by the county’s Board of Commissioners. The purpose is to allow citizens who don’t live in a city the opportunity to provide organized feedback about land use planning and other issues. Oak Grove Community Council is the local CPO which can be reached via email at contact@oakgrovecpo.org or visit the website at www.oakgrovecpo.org. Clackamas County offers services to Oak Grove which is typically provided by a city government such as Sheriff, code enforcement, building permits, etc.



Welcome to Trolley Trail

This 6-mile trail is a community treasure waiting for you to explore on foot or on your bike! It’s a multi-use paved and gravel trail connecting neighborhoods, schools, parks, retirement communities and business districts between Milwaukie and Gladstone complete a missing link in Metro’s regional trail system.

History of Trolley Trail Becoming a Walking and Bicycle Path

Friends of the Trolley Trail, a citizen advocacy group, lobbied local officials for a decade to purchase the right-of-way from Union Pacific and turn the overgrown dirt path into the 6-mile, walking, jogging, biking path it is today. The trail was dedicated in June, 2012. This “linear park” passes through the historic neighborhoods of Milwaukie, Oak Grove, and Jennings Lodge, just blocks from the Willamette River, past stately old homes, towering trees and streets that were once trolley stops, with historic names like Risley, Jennings and Meldrum. Those were the pioneer families who made today’s Trolley Trail possible, by donating their land for the original rail right-of-way.

Portland Street Car

The Trolley Trail is located within a former Portland Traction Co. streetcar line right-of-way. The streetcar service operated between Portland and Oregon City from 1893 until 1958. Freight service continued until 1968, when rail service was abandoned completely. Since that time, citizens and public officials have advocated to preserve the right-of-way for a future recreational and/or commuter trail.

The communities of Milwaukie, Oak Grove, and Jennings Lodge were located along the streetcar corridor. In 1850, Milwaukie consisted of a sawmill at Johnson Creek and a number of surrounding farms. The community of Oak Grove, named for a large stand of oak trees at its northwestern end, was platted in 1890. Platted in 1905, Jennings Lodge was another small community that the streetcar line would eventually serve.

The remote small-town character of the area changed once the streetcar line was built. The streetcar line ran from downtown Portland to Oregon City, and the first car ran on the tracks on February 16, 1893.

After the rail line was built, development along the corridor flourished. Oak Grove and Jennings Lodge both expanded to include more residences, public buildings and stores. Houses adjacent to the corridor were built with their porches facing the rail line. In the late 1890s, typical homes surrounding the streetcar were simple wood-frame buildings commonly referred to as Vernacular or Western Farmhouse styles. The homes built around 1900 typify newer American styles, such as the Craftsman-Bungalow, which was possibly the most popular architectural style through the 1920s (Clackamas County Cultural Resource Inventory, 1992). Examples of both the older farmhouse and Craftsman-Bungalow style houses still exist along the streetcar corridor today.



Learn more about TriMet and Max Orange Line by visiting this link: www.trimet.org/max

Art at Park Ave Max Station
Susan Zoccola, Bower
Painted and powder-coated steel
Sculpture featuring a canopy of over-sized oak leaves serves as an icon for Oak Grove.

Shelter Columns

Lynn Basa, Journey Through Time
Glass mosaic
Oak trees represent the community of Oak Grove.

Hilary Pfeifer, Allogamy
Western red cedar
Carved and stacked geometric forms are reminiscent of native seeds, nuts and berries.



Nature Buildings
The Trolley Trail became a stand-alone project on the world stage when TriMet incorporated nature into its Max Line. As you look around, you may notice structures which house various equipment and sub stations needed to run Max. They are hard to see because TriMet took great pains to incorporate them within the natural surroundings. These buildings are typically utilitarian in appearance, but TriMet incorporated earth tone colors, stone work, and other designs to hide them in plain sight.

Light Rail becomes green
Another unique feature to this Light Rail Line is its use of renewable energy. As you look at this portion of the line, you will see green roofs and solar panels. These features help minimize the deflection of sunlight back into the atmosphere and convert solar energy into electricity. One main feature is at Park Ave Station; the energy created from stopping the train is converted into power for starting the train.

Patrick Gracewood, To Grandmother’s House
Atlas cedar, paint, weathering steel
Carved female figure protected by a metal treehouse pays tribute to women.



Toby Johnson, Bear Catching Salmon
Sculptural bench with chainsaw-carved animals was inspired by native wildlife.

This bench marks more than just a resting spot. It is another symbol of how TriMet used nature in its Trolley Trail design. As you look north you will see a Sequoia tree near the path. Before the Trolley Trail was developed, it was lined with many Sequoias. They had to be removed from the path for the improvements, but many were repurposed for river habitat, wood chips, and art, like this bench.



TriMet Site

Beyond the fence, you may notice just a graveled patch of land. This spot reminds us of a few points of history; Originally it was a stop along the Trolley Line named Evergreen Station. In 1972 ODOT purchased the property as a staging area to expand McLoughlin (Hwy 99E). When Tri-Met and the Federal Transportation Authority (FTA) purchased land for the construction of the Light-Rail line, they purchased land all along the line. After the construction was completed Tri-Met found they had some land left over – remnant lots. One of those remnant lots is the 2 acre site at this location.

Milwaukie’s City Council is addressing the housing crisis faced by the city and county. The city is looking to acquire the site for transit oriented development in the future.


Hilary Pfeifer, Phylogeny

Western red cedar
Contemporary totem honors animals that inhabited this region before and after settlement.

Kula Design, Flow
Sequoia and steel
Stylized waterwheel symbolizes the hard work of early settlers.

Chris Papa, Sewn
Cedar, steel cable
Individual wooden panels create a unified structure, just as individuals come together to create community.



McLoughlin Blvd
In 1930 plans were announced for a new “superhighway” connecting Portland to Oregon City, near the river through downtown Milwaukie. Also known as McLoughlin Boulevard, the road was dedicated on October 18, 1937. Drivers from communities like Milwaukie and Oregon City now had a more direct connection to Portland. In 1972 the highway became an official portion
of State Highway 99E.

Birkemeier – Sweetland House
If you look across Hwy 99E, notice a green house sitting on the edge of Kellogg Lake. This house belonged to the last major builder to leave his mark on the Alameda neighborhood, Kenneth “Kenny” Birkemeier. Birkemeier, produced at least 20 homes in the Alameda Park addition alone, and dozens of other homes across Portland, including apartments and duplexes throughout the city. Birkemeier was born October 21, 1905 into a family with a tradition in the building arts. His grandfather Fred designed and built the 1878 Birkemeier-Sweetland house, located near Kellogg Lake, Ken’s father — also named Fred — was a casket maker and fine carpenter. Birkemeier attended the University of Oregon in the early 1920s, studying architecture. Before becoming a builder, he worked in a butcher’s shop in Milwaukie and then as a draftsman for furniture maker Bruno P. Johns (for whom Portland’s Johns Landing is named). Monroe Sweetland later purchased the home (see stop 26 for details).

Lee Imonen, One Tree Trestle
Douglas fir, steel
A single tree is repurposed into a trestle, serving as record of nature’s cycle of growth and change.



Island Station Trolley Stop

You are standing underneath the last visual evidence of the Portland Electric Rail Line. Above you rests the train trestle which was the location of the Island Station stop that played an important role in Milwaukie. It was the closet stop to the Elk Island Dance Hall and was used quite frequently by visitors, summertime residents, and full time residents.

Story of Fred Nelligan

A geologist by training and lover of the outdoors by nature, Fred Nelligan lead the fight to create a Light Rail system that was both functional and desired by both riders and those who live around it. He trained search and rescue dogs and became immersed in Oak Grove politics and the Light Rail. One of his great contributions to the project was the concern over the train coming down the bridge, blinding drivers on McLoughlin with the train’s headlight. He himself conducted countless hours of study about this concern and even rented a forklift with a light to measure the angle and perceived problem. He presented his findings to TriMet and TriMet agreed this was a problem and they worked together to find a solution. Mr. Nelligan died at age 61 in 2014, but his legacy lives on in the Light Rail line.


Andre Caradec and Thom Faulders, Flow-Zone
Powder-coated aluminum, reflectors
Dynamic pattern of “botts” appears to flow along the underside of the light rail bridge where it crosses over the Trolley Trail.

TriMet designers – Columns

These columns that support the bridge are not just for decoration. The flutes are designed to carry the rain water from the bridge down to the ground.



Welcome to Downtown Milwaukie

City of Milwaukie would like you to explore our City’s Downtown. It is a great place to work, live, and play while shopping and eating at our Downtown stores and restaurants. This portion of the walk will not only bring you to our local businesses, but also explore some of our City’s art, heritage, and progressive growth.

Milwaukie is an excellent place not only to live and enjoy, but to work or expand your business. We offer a variety of opportunities for you or your company to enjoy our tranquil setting by Milwaukie Bay. The City offers amenities such as parks and transit, as well as a close knit community with a transparent government. We are excited about our future as we move forward in the 21st Century.

For more information about City of Milwaukie, its opportunities, statistics, and offerings, please visit our website https://www.milwaukieoregon.gov

Dogwood City of the West

Milwaukie is known as the Dogwood City of the West. The claim to fame was established when Mrs. Shindler cared for and grew the largest Pacific Dogwood tree ever recorded at the corner of 32nd Ave and Harrison St. Unfortunately in 1962, an extratropical windstorm damaged the tree and it was removed a few years later. It was said that people would come from miles around to see the beautiful blooms in the spring.



Kellogg Creek Bridge

Welcome to Kellogg Bridge, gateway to Kronberg Park. The bridge crosses over Kellogg Creek, dammed in the 1850’s for powering the flour mill and ship building, it transformed into Kellogg Lake. This $1.656 million bridge was constructed as part of Metro’s Light-Rail Orange line. The bridge will be opened when the $1.8 million Multi-Use Path is finished in November 2019 providing access to Robert Kronberg Nature Park.

Kellogg Lake

Kellogg Lake became a playground for the Portland elite in the 1900’s as the trolley car brought visitors and summer time residents into Milwaukie to enjoy the tranquility and peacefulness of the lake, the river, and Crystal Lake Park located off of Harrison Street. From this view, you can still see some of the homes built for summer enjoyment. In fact the majority of older homes around Island Station, Historic Milwaukie, and upstream to Aldercrest were built for those who enjoyed the entertainment to be found at Kellogg Lake.

You will also see the large wooden train trestle. Built around the 1890’s as trains came to the West, this is still a viable crossing for the railroad today.

Kronberg Park

Beginning in the 1930’s after the Superhighway 99W or McLoughlin Blvd. was built, the lake started to be filled in for development and business opportunity. Some of the fill became Robert Kronberg Nature Park which is an approximately 5 acre park site. The property includes land deeded to the City in 1991 by Robert Kronberg and his wife Dena Swanson and land purchased by the City of Milwaukie with funds from Metro’s voter-approved 1995 natural areas bond measure. Soon to be completed, a Multi-Use Path will connect downtown Milwaukie via the Kellogg Creek Bridge to the Trolley Trail near the south end of the park. It will also improve access to the Milwaukie light rail station.

The project will restore and preserve existing habitat, install interpretive signs, create overlooks and bird blinds, and incorporate benches, picnic tables and a nature play area.

The city received nearly $1.2 million from ODOT’s Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) for completion of the Kronberg Multi-Use Path within the nature park.

Threshold by Brian Goldbloom

As you continue along the walk, notice the relief sculpture on the concrete wall near the underpass. This is a beautiful form of function and beauty. The ark work contains carved rock and becomes a waterfall when the rains run off the platform of MAX Milwaukie Station.



Milwaukie is striving to become a great place not only for its residents, but also its visitors. To encourage Trimet MAX riders to shop and explore in Downtown Milwaukie, the city has created its first food cart pod next to the downtown MAX Orange Line at the Milwaukie/Main Street station. The food cart is an interim use for the station site which is planned for future use as a commercial and residence development. The pod will offer up to 15 food cart spaces, providing water and electricity. Site amenities include picnic tables and umbrellas with seating for 60, a beer/wine cart, portable toilets with hand washing stations, and landscape plantings throughout. To learn more about the vendors visit www.milwaukieoregon.gov/foodcarts

Peoples History of Milwaukie
Looking towards your left from the high school, you will see the large mural. This was sponsored by the Milwaukie Arts Committee (ArtMob) and created by Chris Haberman, a published author, curator, and working artist native to Milwaukie and a Milwaukie High School graduate. His art is created mostly from repurposed material that becomes intricate puzzle-poems of brightly colored figures and text, focusing on history, pop-culture, and people. He has created over 30 large murals.  This one is entitled Peoples History of Milwaukie.

Milwaukie High School
As you look across 21st Ave, you see Milwaukie High School. Originally called Union High, the high school was started in 1918. The high school was dedicated in 1925 and the mascot is the Mustangs, formerly the Maroons. Milwaukie High School has famous alumni such as Jerry Zimmerman, a professional player and manager for Major League Baseball, Dean Caldwell, first ever to scale El Capitan in Yosemite National Park,  and Brad Ecklund, a NFL Pro-bowl center and coach, to name a few. Soon, Milwaukie High School will be getting a makeover after the voters approved a bond measure to rebuild the school.



Trimet MAX Station
You are standing near the platform of Trimet MAX Orange Line Milwaukie Station. The MAX coming into town has transformed our community into a lively and vibrant place. The Orange Line begins near Portland State University and concludes at Park Avenue. Milwaukians not only use the MAX for work, but also as a hassle free way to visit downtown Portland, OSHU, OMSI, and other attractions. To learn more about the Max visit www.trimet.org/max. Our station is also famous for Santa Clause coming into town off the MAX Line and leading Milwaukie’s annual Umbrella Parade.

Adams Street Connector
When looking towards the river, you will see one of Milwaukie’s newest gathering places; the Adam Street Connector. The Adam Street Connector is part of the overall vision to transform the south downtown area into a reinvigorated live/work district within an easy walk of the Willamette River, Kellogg Creek, downtown Milwaukie, and to place outside Milwaukie via the Trimet MAX system. The Adam Street Connector links Milwaukie’s Light Rail Station with Main Street and represents the first completed project of the South Downtown Plan.

South Downtown Plan
The investment into the South Downtown will encourage more living and commercial spaces. Main Street will be the new home of Milwaukie’s Farmers Market, the South Downtown Plaza will be built at the end of the Adams Street Connector, and other public improvement and investment opportunities will greatly expand this area into a friendly gathering space. To learn more about the projects please visit www.milwaukieoregon.gov/southdowntown/south-downtown-milwaukie

Threshhold by Brian Goldbloom
Did you notice the art near the station? These round granite pieces placed in the concrete are depictions of flour mill grinding stones essential in changing wheat into flour. This particular one shows a carved three dimensional map of Milwaukie, the way it was, in the 1850’s. Notice the three creeks and mills located at each of the creeks mouths coming into the Willamette.

The station platform columns are also carved. They represent vine maple tree trunks.






Wissenger’s General Store

Where Foxy’s is today, the Wissenger’s General Store once stood. It was the only general store between Oregon City and Portland and acted as the Post Office as well. It brought in some trade mostly through barter, which people did quite a lot in those days, as there was not a lot of need for money when Milwaukie was mostly farmers.

Kellogg-Wetzler Building

Built in 1910 this building is the only cast stone commercial building in the city. This building material gained popularity in the early decades of the 20th century. The ground floor was originally two storefronts, but the entire building is now used as law offices.

Bernard’s Garage / AxletreeAfter 92 years in business, Bernard’s Garage is closed on May 1. As the owner of the family auto-repair business, County Chairman Jim Bernard, sold the property to a developer.

Redevelopment of the less than 1 acre parcel on Washington Street in downtown Milwaukie has begun. Bernard says the new rail line has opened up investment opportunities but has been difficult for his business that lost two driveways to light-rail construction.

Current city building codes call for retail on the ground floor, and the building could have up to four more stories of housing above the retail space, depending on how parking is designed. Bernard said the site has great views of the Willamette River and is the perfect site for such a project.

The iconic “B” from Bernard’s garage is now on display at Milwaukie Museum.

Bernard, 63, has mixed feelings about losing the last of his official ties to Milwaukie. As part of a legacy of local community service in the family, Bernard’s grandfather was a volunteer fireman. Bernard and his dad both served as Milwaukie’s mayor, ran the Milwaukie Daze festival and volunteered for various other local nonprofit organizations.

Bernard’s grandfather, Joe Sr., opened the business in 1925 near the old streetcar line.

“In 1951 my grandfather sold the business to his son and in 1985 my father sold it to me,” Bernard said.

Bernard’s Garage sat on land that was part of the St. John the Baptist’s mission church in Milwaukie. Bernard said his family history indicates that when St. John’s moved to 25th Avenue in the 1920s under the leadership of Father John Bernard, the land became vacant and the church sold the land to Father John’s brother, Joe Sr.

Content from Clackamas Review April 25, 2017 Raymond Rendleman author



William Shindler Building

Cha Cha Cha’s restaurant is considered one of the oldest commercial structures in Milwaukie. It housed the very first telephone in town. Built in 1905 and the only remaining wood framed commercial building in the downtown area, it is Italian style architecture, meaning a flat roof and cornices.

Mayor Shindler

Mayor Shindler was the first mayor of Milwaukie when we were incorporated in 1903. When he was elected, the City was a shanty of a place. A place that needed change, a leader, and industry. Those were the days of large livestock and tree stumps with mud and dust to constitute our roads. Now Milwaukie wasn’t a one horse town as Lot Whitcomb left some remnants of industry. The Lewellings were on the other side of town towards the North developing Bing and Llewellyn Cherries. They were the saviors of the community after Whitcomb passed. The Lewellings were very active in their community and were leaders in the local Farmers Alliance and the Progressive Movement. Along Main St. there was a school house and 2 blacksmith shops.

First Milwaukie Charter

On February 4, 1903 we were called Citizens of Milwaukie as the State Legislature constituted Milwaukie as a body politic and corporate in fact and in law. The first official meetings were held upstairs of what is now Wonderland.
Our charter had the normal stuff, council of four, mayor with tie vote, mayor can veto any decision made by council unless council votes 3 out of 4. We could have a Marshal, collect taxes, and create ordinances for new charted City.

Section 22 of our charter defines the Council’s powers in making laws.
· Section one: levy taxes,
· Section two: Tax businesses
· Section three: Regulate and suppress houses of ill fame and malt liquor or spirits

We created fair laws like:
· No fine by the city shall be above $200 or longer than 60 days in jail
· Provide and implant telegraph and telephone poles and gas lights for the street
· Allow for sidewalks, water, and fire protection
· Prevent large farm animals and discharging of firearms in town.

Some other powers covered the basics needed in the town:
· Determining what shall constitute a town drunkard,
· Regulate storage of gun powder, nitro-glycerin, and dynamite if any, inside the City
· To appropriate money to pay debts, liabilities, and expenditures of the city, or any part or item thereof, but create no debt which singly or in the aggregate shall exceed $1000.00.



Monroe Sweetland

Monroe Sweetland is known as the father of the Oregon Democratic Party. Until his presence, the state was all red with little to no blue. He was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1952 to represent District 7 from Milwaukie. He was a publisher and editor here in Milwaukie when John F. Kennedy was running for President. As a prominent Democrat in one of the few states to hold presidential primaries at that time, he chose to support Senator Kennedy for the 1960 Democratic Presidential nomination. Sweetland appeared with Kennedy on many of his visits to Oregon in 1959/60, was a paid Kennedy campaign organizer, and was elected as a delegate on the 1960 Democratic primary ballot. Oregon’s support for Kennedy made Sweetland and the others automatic Kennedy delegates per the state’s winner-take-all rules at the time.
If you needed proof that Monroe Sweetland was an important figure to the Democrats, JFK went to Sweetland’s office to meet him and then JFK stopped at this soda fountain inside the Antiques Mall to have a drink. Go inside the store and sit at the very stool where JFK sat. John F. Kennedy is our only documented Presidential visit to date, but we may have been visited by President Hoover, Grant, and Teddy Roosevelt.

William U’Ren
Monroe Sweetland wasn’t the only famous politician from Milwaukie. In 1902 Voters approved an amendment to the state constitution creating Oregon’s initiative and referendum process. Also known as the “Oregon System,” this form of direct legislation was spearheaded by Milwaukie resident and state representative William S. U’Ren. U’Ren was an acquaintance and business partner in the Lewelling family’s nursery business. The Lewellings were ardent supporters of the Populist movement in the 1890s, which gained momentum into the twentieth century.

Chocolatier Building
The building was recently revitalized with historic style. The original building was the City’s first bank and then converted into Perry’s Drug Store. Perry’s encompassed the bank on the two sides; many kids would attempt roller skating through the Main St. Entrance of Perry’s and escape out the Monroe St entrance without getting caught.

Murphy-Schindler Building
Built in 1926 the Mediterranean style building was built to house Joseph Murphy’s pharmacy, which remained a tenant for over 50 years. The building originally had a corner entrance, which was remodeled sometime after 1988. It now houses Dark Horse Comics.



Dark Horse Comics

Born of a maxed-out credit card and a passion for creators’ rights, Dark Horse Comics has transformed the creative landscape in the Pacific Northwest, turning the Portland area into the country’s largest community of cartoonists and graphic artists outside of New York.

Dark Horse was founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson, who had opened a small chain of comic-book stores in the early 1980s on the strength of that credit card. Frustrated that the market had little to offer other than the usual super-hero fantasies, Richardson and Randy Stradley decided to publish comics aimed at more mature readers and—in a novel break with industry traditions—offer the creators full ownership of the material.

On the strength of Richardson’s energy and instincts, Dark Horse pioneered comics based on licensed projects—including Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, and Terminator—and has dramatically popularized Japanese manga. Richardson formed Dark Horse Entertainment in 1992, which has produced such films as The Mask, Timecop, and Hellboy. The company also has a small book-publishing operation, runs a chain of comic stores, Things From Another World, and sells comic-related merchandise and toys. Information provided by Oregon Encyclopedia Steve Duin author

Milwaukie Sculpture Garden

Opening on October 1, 2010 it is the first permanent art garden in the city. It was started with a $25,000 grants from Clackamas County Tourism and TriMet. The sculptures in the garden rotate periodically. To see the latest art and artists visit www.milwaukieoregon.gov/arts-committee/city-hall-sculpture-garden. The art is chosen by the Milwaukie Arts Committee (ArtMob) whose name is an acronym for Art-Milwaukie on Board and also represents the grassroots values of its members. ArtMOB works to connect artists with resources and to connect the community with art. ArtMOB values being inclusive, involving children, and inspiring others to explore new ways of thinking. Visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/artMOBMilwaukie or their page on Milwaukie’s website at https://www.milwaukieoregon.gov/artmob

Jackson Street Bus Station

Do not want to ride the Max into town? There is a bus transfer station right on the corner. It connects bus routes of 30, 33, 34, 75, and 99.

City Hall

City Hall was dedicated over the weekend of July 9th through the 11th in 1938 with great fanfare. The building was first occupied by City staff a month later, August 1938. The three day celebration honored this building which was funded by one of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal Programs. Point of fact: Milwaukie’s City Hall was the last funded Public Building in Oregon under the Progress Works Administration.

The building currently houses the City administration, Council work chambers, and of course everyone’s favorite, municipal court. But it has had many uses over its 80 year history. It has always housed the City government but has shared the space with the library and the fire department. In fact the fire pole still exists inside the bay where the current Friends of the Ledding Library sell used books at the Milwaukie Sunday’s Farmer Market and on the First Friday of the summer months.

The building itself is placed on Milwaukie sacred ground. It sits on part of Lot Whitcomb’s original land claim, it then was part of Seth Lewelling’s orchard and homestead, and then the first public school house stood here until the building was torn down for City Hall. Take a look around the grounds, and find the various historical plaques. You would be surprised how many there are when you take the time to look.

The bold façade of City Hall is a local landmark and a symbol of the community at large. Designed by Joseph H. Anderson, notice the balanced spatial composition and classical proportions composed of geometric, cube like masses. Form and material follow function classifies the building as Half Modern Style. It was common in early 20th Century architecture, just think Frank Lloyd Wright. Notice the towering, rounded entry in the center and the upward pillars. This separates the two cubes, presenting a diversion from the cube without ornate decorations or fancy façade treatments.

Milwaukie’s Farmer Market

The Milwaukie Farmer’s Market runs from March to October, and is located in the parking lot across Main Street from City Hall. In addition to produce, there are booths that sell arts and crafts, and several booths that will sell you a meal or a bottle of wine.

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

Milwaukie Museum