Ask anyone who's strolled down the bustling sidewalks of Laurelhurst Park, and they'll tell you the same thing: it's one of the most inviting and active green spaces in town. Many claim it's the best in Portland, and that's thanks, in part, to a diverse canopy of tree life that calls the park home. In fact, there are over one thousand trees on the grounds alone (don't believe us? Give it a count), and over ten different species of tree in all.
Emanuel Mische, the man responsible for designing the park back in 1910, wanted a space that was "conceived in the spirit of trees." And conceived it was. Even with its recreational accommodations, spring-fed pond, and the opulent architecture of the surrounding neighborhood, the trees are what truly give the park its magnetism.
But recent reports to the Portland Drab have some second guessing their picnic plans to the historical plot.
"They've always been watching," explains Margaret Whistlethrope. Margaret's a resident of the neighborhood surrounding the park, though she asked that we refrain from saying where exactly. From her second story balcony, you can see a number of different trees at the edge of the grounds: Southern magnolia, Bigleaf Snowbell, and Douglas-fir to name a few. At eighty-two years old, she looks upon them with a kind of reverence and deep, deep caution. "They don't mind us around," she further explains. "Long as you're respecting the space. When kids and folk get to screwing around, that's when we hear the screams."
The screams, as Margaret explains them, belong mostly to the kind of riffraff you see in bad eighties movies: kids doing drugs and spray painting graffiti late at night. Margaret goes as far as to claim that when the trees see this kind of behavior, they're known to grow mouths the size of her front door with teeth of sharpened kindling. "So much as think about defiling the park, and you'll find your bones being crushed inside the belly of a trunk, your flesh turned to compost, never to be heard from again. I shit you not."
And while I personally find her story hard to believe, other residents of the neighborhood corroborate the tale. Many do claim to have heard screams late at night when the park appears empty. And the police themselves admit to a small mountain of missing persons cases related to the park grounds.
But human-eating trees?
I'm not so sure. The whole thing feels a bit like an acorn-y joke to me...
Written by Daniel "Dubby" Salas
The Portland Drab is hiring
Note: At the time of publication, the author of this piece has gone missing. They were last seen at 10:45pm on the night of July 17th in Laurelhurst Park. Eyewitnesses claim Dubby was carrying a flashlight and pointing it up into the canopy.