FEATURE ARTICLES Memo Calendar Memo Pad Business Memo's Loaves & Fishes Letters Home
Governor-Elect boosts Gateway
Parkrose Middle School has “Super Volunteer”
Children’s Receiving Center opens in Mid-County
Mid-County zoning due a change
Parkrose resident Marcy Emerson-Peters spearheads Johnson’s Lake Project
PDC profiles Mid-Multnomah County’s Gateway district

About the MEMO
MEMO Archives
MEMO Advertising
MEMO Web Neighbors
MEMO Staff

© 2002, 2003 Mid-county MEMO
Terms & Conditions
Parkrose resident Marcy Emerson-Peters spearheads Johnson’s Lake Project

Three neighborhoods work together to clean up long-neglected natural resource and former playground


The city of Portland acknowledges that Johnson’s Lake is a worthy resource that something should be done about.

Parkrose resident Marcy Emerson-Peters wants them to go ahead and do it.

That’s why she has recruited the Cully, Parkrose and Sumner neighborhoods into spearheading the Johnson’s Lake Project. “People are still fiddle-faddling around, as far as I can tell,” Emerson-Peters says. “There’s been sporadic work, but no one’s coordinating it. Our plan is to coordinate everyone’s efforts and speed up the process.”

The 2.5-acre lake lies east of I-205 between Columbia Boulevard and Airport way. It was indeed Johnson’s Lake, long owned by Harry Johnson, and was a favorite fishing and gathering place, sporting, among other things, a dance hall, a floating dock, and a still. “Aldo Rossi and his cronies used to hang out there,” Emerson-Peters recalls. She herself swam and fished there as a child. “It was our playground, and we still think of it as a special place,” she says.

Things began to change in the 1940s. First, the dance hall burned down. Then, the Vanport Flood “dumped gunk on the lake, and it was never the same afterward,” Emerson-Peters says. Worse was yet to come with steady polluting by industrial firms. The building of the I-205 Freeway reduced access to it, and part of the lake was filled in. Fishing ceased when sores were noticed on the fish left alive.

Of the current use, Emerson Peters says, “It should be something other than a homeless camp and a place for teenagers to party.”

The situation is improving. In 1996 Metro purchased half the lake from Johnson’s daughter Dorothy Thoreson, and the following year 1,000 cedars and cottonwoods were planted to help buffer the noise from I-205. Other reclamation efforts have been undertaken. Emerson-Peters would like those efforts to be more intense and more focussed.

“I don’t like the idea of things being done ‘four or five years out,’” she said. “There are people nearby who don’t even know this is there, and it’s just on the other side of the freeway from them. There are beavers, ducks, and all kinds of wildlife. It’s right on the bike trail. It fits in with everyone’s plans for a place where people can take a break and enjoy the outdoors.”

For those who feel as Emerson-Peters does and want to lend a hand, she can be reached by e-mail at Johnsonslake@hotmail.com. A web site is http://www.deq.or.us/wmc/ecsi/ecsidetail.asp?seqnbr=2086.
Memo Calendar | Memo Pad | Business Memo's | Loaves & Fishes | Letters | About the MEMO
MEMO Advertising | MEMO Archives | MEMO Web Neighbors | MEMO Staff | Home