Portland Oregon

The Only Leprechaun Colony West of Ireland

By —— Bio and Archives--March 15, 2017

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A leprechaun colony, the world’s smallest park and some Hibernian horticulture are intertwined, blending in Portland, Oregon. It all started when Dick Fagan returned from World War II. As a journalist at the daily Oregon Journal, he was sitting at his desk alongside a second-floor window one day in the downtown Jackson Tower at Broadway and Yamhill, Portland. A circular hole in the median below caught his eye. Meant to receive a light standard which had never arrived, it was now overgrown with weeds.

Fagan started replacing the weeds with flowers and one thing leading to another, it became Mills Ends Park, named after his newspaper column and dedicated on 17 March 1948.

The only leprechaun colony west of Ireland, or so Fagan claimed, it was overseen by the head leprechaun Patrick O’Toole. Presumably Patrick spent his time cultivating shamrocks and other Hibernian horticultural pursuits. Perhaps not though Solanum tuberosum, given the restrictions in cultivatable space. But who could tell as the only one who could see the wee leprechaun was Fagan himself. And if Portland’s mayor displeased the newspaper columnist, he’d report the dire threats promulgated by Patrick.

It became an official park in 1976, six years after Dick Fagan’s death. With a total area of just 452.16 square inches, it is recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s smallest park. Whether Fagan’s friend Patrick O’Toole still resides there, especially following President Trump’s campaign against illegal immigrants—is unknown. The City of Portland now maintains the park.


Wes Porter -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Wes Porter is a horticultural consultant and writer based in Toronto. Wes has over 40 years of experience in both temperate and tropical horticulture from three continents.

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