Back in the 1940s, Portlander Dick Fagan was getting sick of the view from his office window. Fagan was a columnist for the Oregon Journal, and his window looked down on a hole in the Naito Parkway’s median, where the city had forgotten to install a street lamp. After watching weeds take over the hole, Fagan took matters into his own hands and planted it with flowers.
He then started reporting on the spot, claiming that he’d found a leprechaun digging in it one morning. Fagan caught him and wished for his own city park, but made a rookie mistake and forgot to specify the park’s size. That’s how he ended up with a two-foot circle sourrounded by concrete.
Over the years, Fagan used his column to detail the happenings in his two-foot domain. He named it Mill Ends Park, after the leftover scraps of wood at lumber milss. He also designated it the only official leprechaun colony west of Ireland, and detailed the exploits of its resident, Partick O-Toole. Over the years, the park has featured dozens of pint-sized attractions, including a swimming pool for butterflies and a miniature Ferris wheel lowered down by a full-sized crane. Tiny bilboards advertisted within its borders, and it was once the site of an annual snail race.
A few years ago, the park was temporarily moved for construction, then reinstated with full St. Patrick’s day fanfare. It’s still a lovely place to stop in the middle of a jaywalk — and a nice reminder to make specific wishes.