17 thoughts on “Duniway Park, 1935

  1. The playground was dedicated 15 years earlier so they must have moved it around as they constructed the landfill. This was the poor neighborhood with recent immigrant, black and jewish populations. There are numerous Oregonian articles documenting the need for a place for kids to play, the park dedication, and subsequent complaints about the flies and odor associated with the landfill.

  2. Whenever I see ” converted from a landfill” I wonder -how big and deep was the landfill? How long was it a landfill? Is there methane migrating up from the former landfill materials to the surface?

  3. In addition to the streetlights that show the route of Terwilliger Blvd., you can also see a former rock quarry on the upper right where Terwilliger Plaza is now located, and SW Broadway Dr. above that. Also, the newly planted slope in the left-central part of the photo is what goes up to what is now Upper Duniway Park. Beyond that, the forested Marquam Gulch goes up into what is now in Marquam Nature Park. The faint diagonal line in the background there is SW Sam Jackson Parkway heading up the hill.

  4. Duniway Park – The park that became a landfill so it could be transformed into a park again.

    Oregonian April 14, 1923 page 22 excerpt

    Duniway park, which is simply a hole in the ground at the foot of Terwilliger boulevard is to be filled and improved in accordance with plans heretofore outlined
    Not only was this the assurance given a large committee of south Portland residents who held a conference with City Commissioner Pier yesterday, but Mayor Baker suggested that the work of the fill be expedited in every possible way in the effort to complete it by fall.
    Mayor Baker then stated that he would see to it that proper provision was made in the budget for the improvement of Duniway Park.


    The sanitary fill method, now employed at East Thirty-third and Fremont streets, (SW corner of NE 33rd & Fremont was a gravel pit turn city landfill) will be used in the improvement of Duniway Park, it was announced. So that the work on the east side will not be slowed up, Commissioner Bigelow declared that he would make arrangements to have refuse and garbage collected on the west side taken to the Duniway Park site.

    Oregon Journal December 13, 1923 page 20 excerpt

    Good progress also has been made in filling of Duniway Park until within the past weeks, when the ground became so soft that the dumping has been difficult. A plank road into the dumping site is now being constructed and filling will resume there next week.
    Helber (city garbage supervisor) states that there is good reason to expect that the fill at Duniway Park will be completed for use of the ground next season for children’s playground. An area extending between Fourth, Fifth, Baker and Arthur streets has been filled to a height of approximately 25 feet, and it is planned to continue the work both at the park and the Fremont street property during the entire winter.
    At East 33rd and Fremont streets the area being filled is 50 by 500 feet, and this is from 65 to 70 percent complete, says Helber. What was a most unsightly hole is being redeemed so that eventually it will become choice residential property.

    February 1924 saw 2094 tons of garbage dumped at Duniway Park with 82 cubic yards of earth for cover.

  5. mike, garbage was dumped there on and off for 30 years. There are numerous citations in the Oregonian about nearby residents complaining. It was not all garbage. Excavation spoils from the Civic Auditorium (1917) and University of Oregon Medical School (1921) were dumped there. As Dennis reported, the landfill became more consistent after the City bought the property in the late 1910s. Fill continued until the early 1930s. The fill is deepest west of the track, near the center of the the revine the fill extends almost 65 feet below the horseshoe pits.

  6. Are there any vintage photos of the land fill at 33rd and Fremont?
    I grew up in that area and was unaware of that area’s history. There certainly are some nice homes now in that area.

  7. At some point in the distant future Duniway Park will provide for a rich archeological dig, given what must lie in that landfill.

  8. Doug B. — Alamedahistory.org did a story on the Fremont landfill, and has lots of other historical information. To go to the landfill story Google — Gravel & Garbage, The history of NE 33rd and Fremont

  9. sssssteven – thanks; i didn’t have a few of those images. what i meant though was that you could use that usgs topo map to get actual depths. although i’m not sure what their countour interval was, as most maps use more than 3 thin lines between the bolder contours.

  10. And just one of several deep gulches that came down from the hills and were filled over the course of many years.

  11. In the set of four pictures the last is mis-labeled; it is the 5th Ave entrance to the dump, 4th Ave borders the East side of the dump, latter to become Barbur Blvd.

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