George Rogers has bragging rights—the man as well as the city of Lake Oswego park. George Rogers, the man, was so instrumental as a city councilman in developing the park, that the council recognized him for his efforts by naming it after him in 1952. George Rogers, the park at 611 State Street in Lake Oswego, Oregon, holds the distinction of being the city’s first public park.
Lake Oswego Ranger Ben LaBounty figures George Rogers Park in the top three of city parks in terms of foot traffic next to Millennium and Foothills. From bird watchers to brides, there is a reason to visit George Rogers, giving it all the more reason to brag.
1. Walk/Run/Bike. The 3 ½ mile Old River Road pathway begins in lower George Rogers Park across the footbridge and continues up and around the point to Old River Road where runners or walkers can continue on along the paved road following the Willamette River before reaching Highway 43.
2. Get back to nature. George Rogers Park packs an unusual variety of plants, topography and wildlife for such a compact space. The diversity ranges from upland conifer (Douglas Fir, Big Leap Maple and Western Red Cedar) to emergent wetlands (open water and landscaped gardens). Wildlife spottings include coyote, deer, raccoons, opossum, osprey, herons, eagles, owls and a possible cougar.
3. Have a picnic. Whether it’s a romantic rendezvous at a picnic table overlooking the river or a company picnic under one of the covered shelters, George Rogers Park is the perfect destination.
4. Get married. There’s a music stage, covered picnic shelters, beautiful setting—you wouldn’t be the first to get married here. Park Ranger Ben estimates five to ten brides a year say their “I do’s” at George Rogers Park.
5. Play your favorite sport. There is one soccer field, two baseball/ softball fields and two tennis courts so come out and play or watch. With room to roam, groups gather for informal games of Frisbee, flag football or tai chi.
6. Get on stage. There’s a music stage here so what’s stopping your budding ballerina or fledgling thespian from taking their place in the spotlight? Give them a venue where they can strut their stuff. Bring a few chairs and they’ll have the adoring audience they need.
7.Take your kid to the playground. All the kid favorites are here from slides to swings so be prepared to hear, “Do it again,” again and again.
8. Eat some pancakes, buy some art, view classic cars, catch a play. George Rogers Park is the venue for many popular annual events including the Lions Club 4th of July pancake breakfast, Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts, the Oswego Heritage Council Collector Car Show, and performances by Masque Alfresco.
9. Hit the beach. That’s right. There is Willamette River access from George Rogers Park with a beach that is a popular spot for sunbathing, picnicking and testing just how much of a retriever your Labrador really is.
10. Grab some history. The park is the site of Oregon’s oldest industrial monument—the Oswego Iron Furnace. Built in 1866, the first fire was started in 1867 and helped fuel Oregon’s largest manufacturing enterprise in the 19th century. An informational kiosk sits next to the furnace where you can learn all about this piece of Lake Oswego’s industrial roots.
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