My biweekly jaunt into Downtown La Grande took in our two parks—Max Square and Reynolds Park. I assumed I would cruise by each park, enjoy what they both had to offer, and report on my experience. When I did this with a visit to Farmer’s Market in Max Square and a sack lunch at Reynolds Park, I grew curious as to each park’s origin story. Doing a little Internet research and reaching out to long-time La Grande residents, I stumbled onto two incredibly interesting stories.
Today, I am presenting the Reynolds Park story and on Thursday, Max Square’s interesting backstory will be highlighted, along with my experiences there.
At 0.1 acre, located on the south side of the City’s parking lot adjacent to the Reynolds Building on Washington Avenue, Reynolds Park is Downtown’s “pocket park” What started as an Eagle Scout project in 1986 has evolved into a native plant garden for pollinators with benches installed, all maintained by dedicated volunteers.
After the initial installation, over the years the park had lost some of its luster. Several years ago, Katie Boula stepped in as a volunteer and transformed the wee park into the gem it is today. She was helped in her efforts by the La Grande Parks and Recreation Department, La Grande Main Street, the Blue Mountains Conservancy, and the Native Plant Society. The park now includes at least a dozen native species, the two small benches, and one full-size bench, and an interpretive sign. These native plants, which are pollinators that attract birds and insects, enable the garden to be mostly self-sustaining.
What a delightful little space this is! Enough shade is available so I could comfortably sit on one of the benches and enjoy my lunch. Reynolds Park might not be the smallest park in the state (that honor goes to Mill Ends Park in Portland—in fact that park is the smallest in the world), but it is a charming and delightful place to enjoy a meal, stop and chat with friends, or spend some time reading a good book.