Thousands come through Mt. Tabor Park Visitor Center

You may be surprised to how quickly enough visitors were logged there, to add up to 10,000 guests …

The Mt. Tabor Visitor’s Center appears to be a big hit, both with locals and visitors to the city.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

For about 14 years, those visiting Mt. Tabor Park have probably seen people walking around the area, wearing bright yellow vests and holding trash pickup sticks in their hands.

“These are volunteers of Friends of Mt. Tabor Park,” explained long-time member and booster Dave Hillman. “Most people have seen our Foot Patrol people or ‘Weed Warriors’ in action.”

The volunteers took on another challenge: To open and operate a “Visitors’ Center” at the park, starting in November, 2011. They’ve kept it open most weekends and selected weekdays for 19 months now, Hillman said.

Dave Hillman, of Friends of Mt. Tabor Park, says this map shows from where many of their visitors have come.

The cozy Center provides a display of historical photos, as well as free walking maps and brochures for visitors. More brochures are planned for the near future, on area geology, plants, trees, and wildlife.

“It’s rather fascinating that we have had 10,000 visitors, literally from all over the world,” Hillman told East Portland News on August 10 as they celebrated the success of the center.

Visitors from Renton, Washington, check out the Mt. Tabor Visitor Center with their local friends.

“During the last couple of weeks, we’ve greeted a guest from Indonesia; a family from Copenhagen; a group from Hungary; another from northern England; and several from numerous states and Canada – not to mention all over the greater Portland area. We seem to have become ‘world destination’, like Multnomah Falls or Washington Park.”

Based on how the celebration had been promoted, some expected to see volunteers shoot off confetti cannons and hear a brass band play when the 10,000th visitor walked through the door.

“We’re a little more low-key than that,” Hillman smiled. “We are just happy that so many Portlanders bring their out-of-town guests to enjoy our unique park.”

Members of the Forsythe family of Montavilla look at exhibits at the Visitor’s Center.

Friends of Mt. Tabor Park has “a couple hundred” members Hillman said, many of them serving as “Weed Warriors”; about 30 of them are active in the Foot Patrol, and there are ten who regularly help out at the Visitor Center.

The simplest way to drive to the Mt. Tabor Visitor Center is to enter the park at SE 60th Avenue and SE Salmon Street, and then drive up the long, curved park road that leads to 6650 SE Yamhill Street (for those using a GPS system!).  The Visitor Center is located adjacent to the main parking lot, next to the Crater Amphitheater.

More visitors arrive, ready to learn more about Mt. Tabor Park at the new Visitor’s Center.

The Center is open weekends10am-3pm, and at times during the week. For more information regarding hours or services, e-mail davehillman@comcast.net.

 > On our Front Page: Katie Jo Jansen of Southwest Portland enjoys a slice of cake, celebrating the 10,000th visitor to the Mt. Tabor Visitor’s Center.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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