Current City of Maywood Park Elected Officials
Mark Hardie, Mayor
Dave Snodgrass, Council President
Jim Akers, City Council Member
Matthew Castor, City Council Member
Art Winslow, City Council Member
In 1926, the city of Portland expanded Sandy Boulevard through northeast Portland to become a four lane highway, linking Portland with all points east. This expansion allowed much more development to take place in the Parkrose district, which at the time was primarily farmland. Beneath the eastern shadow of Rocky Butte, there existed a relatively untouched section of land that was a thick semi-old growth conifer forest. A triangular plot was purchased by the Columbia Realty Company and soon thereafter, the Maywood Park subdivision was plotted.
In 1930, Columbia Realty was bought out by Commonwealth, Inc. Under the direction of Robert H. Strong, Commonwealth took control of Maywood Park. The intention of the new developer was to build a neighborhood that would be of the same class as the Laurelhurst and Eastmoreland neighborhoods in southeast Portland.
Maywood Park grew slowly during the Great Depression and throughout the 1930s. By the end of the decade though, home sales began to take off and in March 1939 there were 23 new homes under construction totaling a value of about $140,000, quite a large sum at the time. People were drawn to the neighborhood because it was far from the city center, but was easily accessible by automobile using Sandy Blvd. Another large draw was that the area was unlike the immediate surrounding area, Maywood Park was completely shrouded by huge conifer trees.
During World War II, the Federal Government constructed war worker housing in the surrounding area, known as Parkrose. This development was far different from the homes in Maywood Park with their mixed and sometimes eclectic styles of architecture, beautiful landscapes and tree shaded surroundings.
After the passing of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 and the subsequent construction of Interstate 5 through central Portland, it became apparent that the I-5 bypass of I-205 was to be routed through Maywood Park. Buoyed by a highway commission statement which stated that no highway should be pushed through an incorporated city without the city’s approval, the citizens voted to incorporate in 1967. The new city, now armed with more rights than would be afforded to a neighborhood, set out to dismantle the growing effort of the Oregon State Highway Commission to route I-205 through the city.
In 1968, the city filed a lawsuit against the highway commission seeking a halt to the continued engineering and designing of I-205 within the incorporated area. The lawsuit also stated that the cost of constructing I-205 through Maywood Park was wasteful and not in the public interest. In addition, the city claimed that the buying of rights-of-way, road closures and changing of road grades without consent of the city were against Oregon law. The city lost this case and the highway commission’s plans continued.
In 1971, Maywood Park again attempted to halt the freeway construction. This time, a suit was filed in Federal Court. The suit charged that the highway commission had refused to hold any public hearings, that construction of the freeway on the proposed route would require cutting many trees, stripping the land and interfering with the wildlife of the area, and that it would create excessive noise and air pollution which would not be necessary if the freeway took another route. Once again, Maywood Park lost the suit. Now, beaten, the citizens of Maywood Park could do nothing as freeway construction began to tear apart their neighborhood.
However a few concessions were made as a result of public hearings. Maywood Park insisted that the freeway and access roads be sunken below grade to lessen the impact of freeway traffic noise. The freeway was sunken a great deal from its originally planned grade. The city also demanded a large wall called a sound berm to be installed on the border of the freeway, which the highway commission agreed to. And finally, the residents pleaded that “Every tree that can possibly be saved must be saved.” And so, with these concessions in place, in came the construction crews. The lower grade of the freeway has been the most successful sound limiting factor, and over the years the sound berm has proven to be an effective sound barrier and privacy screen.
The city battled the Oregon Highway Department again in 1978 when a lawsuit was filed claiming that freeway construction had damaged properties along the western side of Maywood Place. Another concern addressed was the change in plans for the freeway from 6 lanes to 10 which was thought to be a greater impact on the city. Once again, the city lost the lawsuit and failed to bar construction.
Today, a scenic portion of the area’s famed 40-Mile Loop multi-use path now makes its way along Maywood Place and the sound berm. Maywood Park maintains a distinctive feel relative to the surrounding Parkrose district, partly because there are twice as many east-west streets as the rest of the Parkrose area, partly because of the old growth timber still standing to this day, and partly because of the nostalgic architecture which has been preserved throughout the years. Mostly, though, Maywood Park is a special place because of the pride of those who call this “city within a city” their home.