Near Atkinson School are two parks that offer many opportunities for place-based learning. Through walks and exploration activities, these park spaces provide venues for learning in nature within walking distance from Atkinson School.
Located just south of Atkinson School is Clinton Park. This adjacent neighborhood park connects the school with an additional 12.5 acres of public space, with Franklin High School to the southwest of the park. Atkinson students often use the basketball courts during school recess and students play kickball and participate in running club in the park. There is a great small slope for sledding on snow days. Clinton Park was acquired in 1948 by the City of Portland. Atkinson School was dedicated in 1953.
Mount Tabor Park
A nearby gem is Mount Tabor Park. Part of the Boring lava beds from the Pliocene-Pleistocene era, Mount Tabor is an extinct volcanic cinder cone. Before white man arrived, the forested Mount Tabor served as a hunting and gathering place for the band of Chinookean speakers called the Multnomah. They lived along the Columbia near the Willamette River. By 1834, most of the Multnomah band had died from exposure to malaria and smallpox. A big fire destroyed much of the forests around Mount Tabor in 1846, and the area was planted with orchards. In 1909, following the earlier recommendation of the Olmstead Brothers, the City of Portland purchased 196 acres which became Mount Tabor Park.
Mount Tabor Park rises above the surrounding neighborhoods. Cars are not allowed access to the top. At different vantage points are wonderful views including Mount Hood, Mount Saint Helens and other mountains of the Cascade Range. To the west, the panorama stretches from Lake Oswego to Forest Park and includes Mount Tabor’s reservoirs, inner southeast, downtown Portland and the West Hills.The historic reservoirs provide water for the city of Portland.
At the top of Mount Tabor is a large sculpture of a man pointing west. This towering bronze figure depicts Harvey W. Scott, editor of The Oregonian newspaper on and off from 1865 through 1910. The sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, worked on Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota during the same period as he worked on the Harvey Scott bronze.
Mount Tabor Park offers endless opportunities for classroom trips to exercise, study history, picnic, observe nature and find inspiration.