Laurelwood Park Past, Future and Abe Lincoln

Neighborhood Coalition Group the Foster Green EcoDistrict has hit the ground running with active projects this week, the first being a community-driven plan to “refresh” Laurelwood Park. The triangle-shaped .42 acre park is a quiet gem in our neighborhoods, and remains underutilized outside of large events such as Fun on Foster. This vision will be the stepping stone to ask for funding for implementation, and it is important to have broad community support and input. Do you have new ideas for Laurelwood Park? Want to see it stay the same? Please attend this meeting and make sure your voice is heard.

Community Workshop #1 for Laurelwood Park Enhancement
Facilitated by: The Foster Green EcoDistrict
Date: Thursday, December 6th 2012
Time: 6:00pm to 7:30 pm
Location: Bar Carlo, 6433 Foster Road
More Information:

The Foster Green EcoDistrict is a collaboration of neighbors along the Foster Road corridor with a goal to facilitate improvement projects within the community. Foster Green is facilitating a vision and Master plan for Laurelwood Park. The project will engage the community to define their desires for park enhancements. The project includes public engagement, project design, plan document, and implementation strategy. Foster Green will work with the City to formally adopt the final plan. Foster Green EcoDistrict is collaborating with the City of Portland Bureau of Parks and Recreation, the Mt Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association, and the Foster Powell Neighborhood Association.


History of Laurelwood Park

In 1921, the City of Portland purchase a triangular strip adjoining the Arleta Library to establish a new park. In 1923 ,the site was graded and planted, and today’s Laurelwood Park was born.

As this 1927 Oregonian article mentions, our neighbors of the past had high hopes for the new park. Seeking a monument to the “working man” they wanted to see a statue of Abraham Lincoln placed in the tiny parcel.

Unfortunately for us, the Arletian activists of day did not succeed in their request. The statue now stands near PSU in the South Park Blocks.

Renaming the Park and the Road

Later, in 1957, there was a campaign to rename Laurelwood Park into “Foster Park.”

In a related effort, the neighbors wanted to see the “outdated” Foster Road renamed as Foster Boulevard, to reflect a status on par with Hawthorne Boulevard.

Neither effort succeeded.

 Recent Ideas

The 2003 Streetscape Plan had some ideas for Laurelwood Park as well:

  •  Providing better connections with the sidewalk and district;
  • Visually Opening the park to Foster;
  • Designing the park to encourage more use by residents, customers and employees, including seating areas, open areas for events and places for chess playing; and
  • Maintaining a green oasis within the District
  • Improving planing and signage at the entry

New Ideas

We’ll be attending this open house, and we encourage you to do the same. If you can’t attend, but want to share your thoughts and ideas, email them to, or leave them in the comments below and we’ll bring them to the meeting with our own.


  1. I love the boulevard and the Foster Park idea. It would be great to have a big statue there too. Chess table are great or maybe a small structure for adult fitness.

  2. One of my favorite urban pocket parks is Abington Square in NYC. It’s even a triangular shape like Laurelwood.

    It’s about half the size of laurelwood park, so we should have plenty of room to adopt similar designs plus more.

    -Entrance monument (Think they’ll give us Abe Lincoln?)
    -short perimeter fence
    -cobblestone walkway
    -perimeter benches, facing inward to the park.

    Laurelwood could be one of Portland premier urban parks, integrating nature and everyday life in a way most of our parks do not.

  3. Great stuff…love the Lincoln reference. Recent book and new movie has generated a lot of interest.

    This is a key project for the “Heart of Foster” as part of the Foster Corridor Investment Strategy. FLIP is in full support of Foster Green’s efforts.

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