Portland, OR

World’s smallest park reopens after improvement project

Liam Ford

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Mill Ends Park, home to the world's only leprechaun colony west of Ireland, has reopened.| Photo via Portland Parks and Recreation

PORTLAND, OR — Mill Ends Park, dubbed the world’s smallest park, has reopened following bike and sidewalk improvements that were part of the Better Naito Forever project.

“Bike and pedestrian safety improvements in the Better Naito Forever project will now allow more Portlanders to safely visit this iconic park and the leprechauns living there,” said Carmen Rubio, Portland parks commissioner, in a news release yesterday.

The 452-square-inch park was removed during the project, but has returned with a new design and a new location — half a foot west of where it was. The world’s smallest park, according to the Guiness Book of Records, now has a cloverleaf border and a new official sign. A rededication ceremony, including the world’s smallest ribbon-cutting, is to be held soon.

Mill Ends Park was created by Oregon Journal columnist Dick Fagan after his return from World War II. From his office, he saw an unused hole on Front Street (now Naito Parkway) awaiting a streetlight fixture. When the streetlight never arrived, he planted flowers. In his column, Mill Ends, Fagan described the shenanigans that occurred among the leprechauns — “the only leprechaun colony west of Ireland” — that lived there.

The park was dedicated on St. Patrick’s Day in 1948. Guinness granted its recognition in 1971. It became a city park on the same day in 1976, and remains a site for St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Events at the site have included concerts by Clan Macleay Pipe Band, picnics, and plantings by the Junior Rose Festival Court. Mill End Park was moved temporarily in 2006 and previously replaced in 2007.

Visit the park at SW Naito Parkway and Taylor Street.

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