Frequently Asked Questions
When did Mt. Tabor become a Portland park?
In 1888, Buell and Helen Lamberson dedicated a tract of land to the city as designated “park.” This land appears to correspond with the site of Reservoir 1. By 1909, more than 40 private properties, at a cost of $426,000, were procured, including the land where Reservoirs 5 and 6 were constructed. Some people deeded their land to the city for nominal amounts, $1 or $10, with the stipulation that it would only be used as a public park. Pittock sold his land for more than $60,000. A goal was to control “views in the four directions.”
In 1910, City Council passed an ordinance (#21070) “providing that the public park on Mount Tabor shall be known and designated as Williams Park” (April 28, 1910) honoring George Henry Williams (1823–1910), a lawyer, judge, and senator from Oregon. An ordinance, dated February 1911, was drafted and apparently never signed: “providing for the change of name of the public park located on Mount Tabor…hereby changed from Williams Park to Mount Tabor Park.” So technically, the name of the park still remains "Williams Park."
Is Mt. Tabor really a volcano?
Technically Mount Tabor is a dormant cinder cone 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. Click here for more details.
How tall is Mt. Tabor?
The summit is 635 feet above sea level.
How many steps are in the staircase to the summit?
There are 293 stairs from the SE Yamhill/SE 69th Street entrance to the summit. It's not one continuous staircase, however. The stairs are broken by paved roads and a short section of the ascent is a dirt trail. The final, small section of the stairs is around the summit road to the left/east. While on this section, note the triangulation station benchmark (a round, metal medallion) embedded in the fourth stair. Can you find the other four benchmarks associated with it??? (Hint: two are at the summit [one was incorrectly placed for triangulating, the other was placed later in the correct location], and another is near the base of a nearby deciduous tree along the summit oval.)
Where can my dog be off leash?
It is important that dogs be kept on leash at ALL times, except for the off-leash dog area on the south side of the park, adjacant to Warner-Pacific College. A map can be found here.
How do I reserve park space for a private party/event?
Mt. Tabor Park is the ideal spot for a private party - we host many weddings, birthday parties, and family reunions every year. To reserve park space, please visit the Portland Parks & Recreation web site.
Who is that guy at the summit?
At the park summit is a bronze statue of Harvey W. Scott, editor of the Oregonian newspaper from 1865–1872 and from 1877 until his death in 1910. A gift to the city by Scott's widow, Margaret, and family, it was sculpted by Gutzon Borglum in the early 1930s while he was at work on his monumental sculpture of four American presidents on Mt. Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Cast by the Kunst Foundry in New York, it was unveiled in June 1933.