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Powell Butte is a large nature park in the far south eastern corner of Portland, OR. Much like Rocky Butte and Mount Tabor, Powell Butte was created as a cinder cone from a volcanic vent. It was used as a dairy farm and orchard in the later part of the last century, and was bought by the water bureau in 1925, (when Powell Butte was still far outside of the city of Portland), although a resoirvoir (presumably underground) was not built until 1981. Today, the butte has 20 acres ran by the Portland Parks Department, and remainder of the 600 still under the nominal control of the water bureau.

Whatever it's technical status is, Powell Butte is Portland's second largest park, behind the massive Forest Park. Powell Butte is large enough, and even has enough diversity in its ecosystems to support a number of wild animals, including eagles, racoons, owls, deer and even transient black bear and mountain lions. Since this park is usually not very crowded, it is quite possible to imagine that you are 200 years in the past, with the exception of fact that it is surrounded on three sides by the light and noise of Portland.

The top of the park is an open, rolling meadow, spotted with apple trees, hawthornes and blackberry bushes. The western side of the butte falls off at a very steep angle, and is shaded by very tall pine and other deciduos trees, with an undercanopy of Oregon Grape, ferns and other shade resistant plants. The park has relatively few stands of large deciduous trees.

While bicycling along the Springwater Corridor, which crosses the south end of the butte, I saw a sign warning me of a mountain lion in the vicinity. It would perhaps be a good idea to show caution on Powell Butte, but probably more for two legged predators then for bears or big cats.

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