Mount Tabor (Oregon)
Mount Tabor is an extinct or dormant volcanic vent, the city park on the volcano, and the neighborhood of Southeast Portland that surrounds it, all in Oregon. The name refers to Mount Tabor, Israel, part of Portland's distinct Jewish culture and past. It was named by Plympton Kelly, son of Oregon City pioneer resident Clinton Kelly.
Mount Tabor Park
Portland Historic Landmark
Location of the park in Portland
|Location||Roughly bounded by SE Division Street, SE 60th Avenue, SE Yamhill Street, and SE Mountainview Drive, Portland, Oregon|
|Architect||Emanuel Tillman Mische, Charles P. Keyser|
|Architectural style||Late Victorian, Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals|
|NRHP Reference #||04001065|
|Added to NRHP||September 22, 2004|
Near the peak, where a basketball court and outdoor amphitheater are now situated, part of the cinder cone has been cut away, and the rock is visible to park visitors. The remaining cinders were used to pave the nearby parking lot.
The Tabor cinder cone is part of the Boring Lava Field, an extensive network of cinder cones and small shield volcanoes ranging from Boring, Oregon to southwest Washington, and dating to the Plio-Pleistocene era. The lava field has been extinct for over 300,000 years. Three other cinder cones from this field also lie within the city of Portland: Rocky Butte, Powell Butte, and Kelly Butte.
Portland is one of four cities in the United States to have an extinct volcano (Mount Tabor) within its boundaries. Bend is the only other city in Oregon with a volcano within its city limits, with Pilot Butte. Jackson Volcano in Jackson, Mississippi and Diamond Head in Honolulu being the others.
The volcanic nature of Mount Tabor became known in 1912, years after reservoirs and a public park were developed on it.
Mount Tabor Park Reservoirs
Reservoir #6 in 2006
|Location||1900 SE Reservoir Loop
|Architect||Isaac Smith, et al.|
|Part of||Mount Tabor Park (#04001065)|
|NRHP Reference #||03001446|
|Added to NRHP||January 15, 2004|
The 196-acre (0.79-km²) Mount Tabor Park does not appear to have ever been formally ordained by the City as a park. According to archival records, an ordinance declaring Williams Park, named for a prominent citizen, was stopped by neighborhood activists wanting the historic name, Mt. Tabor Park, to be retained. No other ordinance appears to have been enacted to date. The entire park, including the Central Maintenance Yard, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. The nomination was forwarded by a community effort spearheaded and funded by the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association. Mt. Tabor Park is known for its reservoirs, three of which were accepted to the National Register of Historic Places in January 2004. The reservoirs' nomination was also a community effort spearheaded by the Friends of the Reservoirs and funded by donations. The park was designed, along with other Portland parks, by Emanuel Tillman Mische, a highly pedigreed horticulturist and long-time landscape designer for the famed Olmsted Brothers landscape firm. John Charles Olmsted, stepson and nephew of the famed Frederick Law Olmsted, visited Portland in 1903 to help design the site for the Lewis and Clark World Exposition, on the request of Rev. Thomas Lamb Eliot, minister of the First Unitarian Church and relative of Charles Eliot, the son of the president of Harvard University and acclaimed landscape architect and partner in the Olmsted landscape firm in Brookline, Massachusetts. Rev. Eliot arranged for Olmsted to visit Seattle for park planning, too, in order to help make the long trip financially feasible. While John Charles Olmsted was in Portland, Rev. Eliot and other park supporters took him on a tour throughout the city so that he could create a grand plan of parks. Mt. Tabor Park was the largest Portland park until 1947 when Forest Park was created. The land making up the Mt. Tabor volcanic butte was identified for a park in the 1880s due to its ideal elevation for a water distribution system. City fathers formed a water committee and created a municipal water system piping water some 25 miles from the Bull Run River watershed, separate and west of Mt. Hood, to Mt. Tabor reservoirs and across the Willamette River to City Park reservoirs (now Washington Park) in 1894. The Bull Run watershed was among the first federal lands to be set aside in the Forest Reserve Act of 1891 and enacted by president Benjamin Harrison.
The Mount Tabor reservoirs were built during the period of 1894 and 1911, along with reservoirs in Washington Park. The reservoirs and their gatehouses are artistically constructed, incorporating extensive reinforced concrete, designed to look like stonework, by two early patented techniques by noted engineer Ernest L. Ransome and wrought-iron fencing and lampposts designed by noted architect William M. Whidden. There were initially four above-ground reservoirs, numbered 1, 2, 5, and 6. (Reservoirs 3 and 4 are at Washington Park, and Reservoir 7 is a small underground reservoir near Mount Tabor's summit.) Reservoir 2, on the corner of SE 60th and Division, was decommissioned in the 1980s, and the property was sold to a private developer. Its gatehouse remains, and is used as a private residence. Reservoir 6 is the largest, with two 37 million gallon chambers; it also contains a fountain, which was unused for many years; however, it was reactivated in early 2007.
The park features a statue of The Oregonian editor and Scottish Rite Freemason, Harvey W. Scott. The larger-than-life statue was sculpted by Gutzon Borglum, notable for sculptures on Mount Rushmore. The bronze statue was dedicated on July 22, 1933, with approximately 3000 in attendance, 23 years after Scott died. Oregon governor Julius Meier was chairman of the event, and Chester Harvey Rowell gave a speech.
The Mt. Tabor reservoirs, along with those in Portland's Washington Park, have been the subject of a decade-long controversy surrounding lucrative engineering contracts to replace the historic open reservoirs with underground storage tanks. Concern has been raised about the possible relationship between City officials and the engineering firms receiving the no-bid reservoir decommissioning contracts; and about the role these parties may have played in lobbying for pro-underground-tank modifications (the "LT2" rule) to the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Under LT2 several hundred of the country's historic open reservoirs were decommissioned.
Following pressure from other open-reservoir cities, in 2011 the EPA softened its stance on the LT2 rule and allowed the country's remaining open reservoirs to halt burial plans; but despite public outcry Mt. Tabor's open reservoirs remain slated for decommissioning. In August 2015 the Portland City Council voted for decommissioning, considered to be the final vote on the issue.
Access to the park
Mt. Tabor Park can be entered from 69th Avenue and Yamhill Street on the north side of the volcano, Harrison Street on the east, Lincoln Street on the southwest, and 60th Avenue and Salmon Street on the northwest side. An off-leash dog park is located on the south side near the Harrison entrance.
Mt. Tabor has numerous paths and can be climbed from virtually any direction. Three official trails begin and end at the kiosk in the parking lot just west of the park entrance at 69th and Yamhill. The easy one-mile (1.6 km) Red Trail, the intermediate 1.7-mile (2.7 km) Green Trail and the more difficult 3-mile (4.8 km) Blue Trail all circle the volcano by way of gravel paths and paved roads. The Blue Trail includes the 96-step stairway between Reservoirs 5 and 6, and has an optional 0.31-mile (0.5 km) loop around the summit. Bicycles are permitted on the Red and Green Trails. Leashed dogs are permitted on all the trails. Restrooms are available at the trailhead and the visitors center near the 60th and Salmon entrance.
In October 2011, the Friends of Mount Tabor Park opened a visitors' center in a former storage room at the park.
- Jim E. O'Connor; Rebecca J. Dorsey; Ian P. Madin (May 14, 2012). Volcanoes to Vineyards: Geologic Field Trips Through the Dynamic Landscape. p. 260. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
All Boring volcanic centers are extinct, but the Boring Volcanic Field presumably is not. The most recent eruptions in Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area occurred ~100,000 years ago and the age of the youngest dated center, Beacon Rock at the east edge of the Boring Volcanic Field, is 57 ka.
- Scott (May 14, 2012). "There's a volcano in the heart of Portland, Oregon". Quirky Travel Guy. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- "Mount Tabor Seismic Stability Analysis, Portland, Oregon". Portland, Oregon: Cornforth Consultants. 2009. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
... are built on the upper slopes of Mount Tabor, a dormant volcanic vent.
- McArthur, Lewis A.; Lewis L. McArthur (2003) . Oregon Geographic Names (Seventh ed.). Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. ISBN 0-87595-278-X.
- "Mount Tabor". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2010-12-13.
- "USGS topographic map centered at Mount Tabor".
- Portland Historic Landmarks Commission (July 2014), Historic Landmarks -- Portland, Oregon (XLS), retrieved August 15, 2014.
- Charles A. Wood; Jűrgen Kienle (1990). Volcanoes of North America. Cambridge University Press. pp. 170–172.
- "Guide to the Mount Tabor Neighborhood". Retrieved 2010-12-13.
- Karl Samson (2010). Frommer's Oregon. Frommer's. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-470-53771-8.
- "Historic Districts in Multnomah County, Oregon".
- "Oregon Historic Sites Database". Heritagedata.prd.state.or.us. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- "Oregon Historic Sites Database". Heritagedata.prd.state.or.us. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- "The Olmsteds in the Pacific Northwest: The Art of Landscape Design". Retrieved 2011-06-04.
- Terpstra, Stan (December 2006). "Old friend returns to Mount Tabor Park". The Southeast Examiner.
- Snyder, Eugene E. (1991). Portland Potpourri. Portland, Oregon: Binford & Mort. pp. 73–79. ISBN 0-8323-0493-X.
- ""Forget it Jake, it's just P-Town," Portland Tribune, December 29, 2003". PortlandTribune.com. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
- ""A Friend in the Business" Willamette Week, September 10, 2003". WWeek.com. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
- ""Historical relationship between Montgomery Watson Harza Global, Inc., an Additional Bull Run Treatment Plan, and Portland's Open Reservoirs, and the EPA's 2006 LT2 Rule," Friends of the Reservoirs". FriendsOfReservoirs.org. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
- "Portland reservoir urination raises few health or scientific concerns -- but it is pee". Oregonlive.com. June 16, 2009.
- ""Portland, Oregon: A Locus of Undue Influence on Drinking Water Regulations and Public Works Contracts?" PortlandWater.Info" (PDF). PortlandWater.Info. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
- "United states Environmental Protection Agency: August 2011" (PDF). Opb.org. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
- ""The Cost of Decommissioning," Southeast Examiner, August 2013". Southeastexaminer.com. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
- ""Mt. Tabor Reservoir Protest Could Draw Hundreds , Organizer Predicts: Portland City Hall Roundup," The Oregonian, July 11, 2013". OregonLive.com. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
- Beaven, Steve (October 5, 2011). "At Mt. Tabor Park, an old friend helps create a new visitors center". The Oregonian. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
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