Pdx Nature

Portland Places to Swap Screen Time for Green Time

As of this writing, there are only 52 days of summer break before Portland Public Schools resume. How are you passing the time? In the waning days of summer—and beyond—we encourage you to take a break from screens (phone, computer, TV, tablet) and get outside.

Why? Research has shown that time in nature increases creativity and self-reflection, which is a building block of empathy. It decreases obesity, nearsightedness and depression. Did you know there is even a bacteria (M. vaccae) in dirt that makes us happier and smarter? We need nature.

Let your kids climb trees (learning to manage risk can actually increase safety). Let them romp around in local streams. And of course, let them dig in the dirt.

You can find nature right outside your front door or at one of our favorite nature areas, listed below.

By Sophie Merrill, Incoming Senior, Wilson High School

Check out this list of natural play areas originally compiled by our friend, Michael Barton, for Metro Parent.

1. Westmoreland Park Nature Play Area, SE McLoughlin Blvd. & SW Bybee Blvd., Portland

2. Spring Garden Park, 3332 SW Spring Garden St., Portland

3. Marshall Park, SW 18th Pl., Portland

4. K’unamokwst Park, NE 52nd Ave & NE Alberta St., Portland

5. Blue Lake Regional Park, 20500 NE Marine Dr., Fairview

6. Cooper Mountain Nature Park, 18892 SW Kemmer Rd., Beaverton

7. Hyland Woods Natural Area, SW Sexton Mountain Dr., E of SW Murray Blvd, Beaverton

8. Camille Park, W end of SW Marjorie Ln., Beaverton

9. Pioneer Park, 14545 NW Pioneer Rd., Beaverton

10. Roger Tilbury Memorial Park, 965 NW 93rd Ave., Portland

11. Outdoor Adventure Portland Children’s Museum, 4015 SW Canyon Rd., Portland

12. Trillium Creek Park, 16803 SE Anderegg Pkwy., Damascus

13. Pioneer Park, SE 152nd Ave & SE Pioneer Dr., Clackamas

14. North Canyon Nature Play Area at Silver Falls State Park, 20024 Silver Falls Hwy SE, Sublimity

15. Nadaka Nature Park, NE Pacific St (between NE 175th St. and NE 176th St.), Portland

16. Ibach Park, 10455 SW Ibach St., Tualatin

17. Jurgens Park, 17255 SW Jurgens Ave., Tualatin

18. Engleman Park, 29987 SW Wilsonville Rd, Wilsonville

19. Hawthorne Park, SE King Rd & SE 74th Ave, Southgate

20. Marshall Community Park, 1015 E McLoughlin, Vancouver

21. Jorgenson Woods Neighborhood Park, NW 3rd Ave & NW 72nd Circle, Vancouver

And a few more of our favorite nature areas:

Gabriel Park, SW Vermont St & SW 45th Ave, Portland

Tryon Creek State Park, 11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd., Portland

Tualatin Wildlife Refuge, 19255 SW Pacific Hwy. (99W), Sherwood