"Point 0,0 for Oregon and Washington" Willamette Stone State Park by glabah

Just off Skyline Boulevard in Portland's West Hills is a rock - or at least it used to be a rock. Today, it is a metal disk set in concrete, and from this location every single survey line in Oregon and Washington has its point of origin.

The east-west line through here is the Willamette Base Line, and the north-south line running from the California border to the Canadian border is the Willamette Meridian.

The landmark was established on June 4, 1851 by John B. Preston, Oregon's first Surveyor General.

As a state monument, and state geographical land mark vital for establishing all future land claims, it was decided to convert the land surrounding the marker to state parks ownership.

The small state park features dense fir forest and a paved trail that leads steeply down hill from a small parking area on the west side of Skyline Boulevard down to the "rock", which is actually a small metal disk with the exact 0,0 points marked in it - and is of much more modern origin than the original stone (which is nowhere to be found in this park). Some of the park is reasonably well preserved native plants, while in other cases English ivy has severely chocked out some of the other plants, and is in the process of climbing the trees in the park and choking those as well.

Getting to the park is possible on public transit, as bus route #20 has a stop at the Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery at Burnside and Skyline. However, this is not a very good way to get here because Burnside and Skyline are very busy roads, and there is not much space to walk beside them in this area. Anyone doing so runs the risk of getting hit by one of the vehicles that go blasting past at well over the speed limit and "safe and reasonable speed" (Oregon driving rules of the road) for a road with sharp blind curves.

So, your best bet is to drive here, but you can not get here from Burnside going east. You must get onto Burnside going west out of downtown Portland, then at the top of the hill continue straight on Skyline Boulevard (Burnside curves to the left as it drops down the hill). After several curves, you will come to a nearly unmarked parking area on the left side of Skyline, near a forest of trees and several huge antenna. This is Willamette Stone State Park. A very old style highway guard rail marks the spot, and there is a small gap in it at the start of the paved walkway that goes down hill to the Willamette Stone.

Other than what you see here, there are a few other photos on my Willamette Stone State Park Tip which is in the Portland section of VirtualTourist.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:It's a Historic Location important for Oregon and Washington
  • Cons:There really isn't that much here.
  • In a nutshell:A very obscure monument important for determining a number of different things in the future of Oregon and Washington, but it is hard to get excited about a small metal disk that isn't really that historic.
  • Last visit to Willamette Stone State Park: Mar 2011
  • Intro Updated Mar 29, 2011
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glabah

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