Overlook Park Shelter and Comfort Station – Portland OR


Acquired by the City of Portland in 1930, the ten-acre Overlook Park required improvements during the Depression years if it were to serve adequately the north Portland Overlook neighborhood, which had reached full development during the 1920s real estate boom. Site sits in a ravine and on  a former garbage dump; additional fill was added over several years to level the area. By 1937, the process of settling was complete and the park was prepared for more extensive development.

In 1938, Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers undertook the largest and most significant part of the park plan – the Shelter & Comfort Station (restroom). It was constructed from local basalt and designed by architect Ellis Lawrence (or possibly other members of his firm, Lawrence, Holford & Allyn).  The picnic shelter and comfort station is considered one of the best examples of rustic architecture in the Portland area, built with the help of WPA crafts workers – some of whom had experience at Rocky Butte and the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway of the 1920s.

A rectangular structure approximately 25 by 75 feet, the building contains bathrooms and storage areas at both ends and an open air picnic space in the middle.  Rough-cut stone pillars support a shingled roof, while iron hinges, handles and latches decorate wooden doors to the storage areas.  Local residents recognize its style as reminiscent of Mt. Hood’s Timberline Lodge, even if at a much smaller scale.

Source notes

Oregon State Historic Preservation Office http://heritagedata.prd.state.or.us/historic/index.cfm?do=v.dsp_siteSummary&resultDisplay=50292

Oregonian (1931) “Seventy-five truckloads of Garbage Daily,” July 16, 1931.

Oregonian (1938) “WPA Gives Funds to Oregon State,” November 14, 1938.

Project originally submitted by Judith T Kenny on January 5, 2015.

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Location Info

3325 N Overlook Blvd
Portland, OR 97227

Coordinates: 45.547842, -122.682627

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