Blog Stories A Historic New Name

A Historic New Name

By David Columbus, September 1, 2020

When I am exploring a neighborhood for the first time I always end up walking to the closest park. These green spaces often tell a story about the neighborhood. How crowded is the local park on a sunny day? Is there a playground? Are people out with pets? Is there a calendar of park events? Portland is notoriously great at park events.

Parks grow and evolve alongside their neighborhoods in wonderful ways. I recently worked with some clients in the Centennial neighborhood and got to witness park evolution first hand. As it turns out, my client’s new home happens to be near a very cool piece of Portland Park history.

Lynchview Park, named for Patrick Lynch who donated land to the Centennial School district back in the 1800s, was a forlorn, undeveloped rectangle of green in Centennial. However, as of June the 8-acre park has a new name and a new look.

The newly named Verdell Burdine Rutherford Park is the first park in Portland to be named after a Black woman.

Verdell Burdine Rutherford and her husband Otto were pioneering leaders of the Oregon chapter of the NAACP. Together they worked to pass the Public Accommodations Act of 1953 which outlawed discrimination in public places on the basis of race, religion, or national origin. Burdine Rutherford also spent much of her live chronicling the history of the Black community in Portland. Her historical collection is available for research at the PSU library.

The updated park has more than a historic new name. With funding from the 2014 Park’s Replacement Bond, a series of renovations have revitalized the space. Verdell Burdine Rutherford Park has a new playground, a picnic shelter, updated landscaping, and paved pathways. A celebration of Burdine Rutherford’s life and the park’s renaming will be held at a soon-to-be-determined date. Remember, Portland is great at park events. It is a beautiful space and a huge asset to the neighborhood – definitely a worthy destination for that “we just moved in” walk around.

Photo courtesy of Portland Parks & Rec

David Columbus

Principal Broker | Earth Advantage | ADU Specialist


As an Earth Advantage Principal Broker, David serves buyers and sellers alike with his 20+ years of experience as a broker and investor. His experience includes residential, commercial, investment property, and multi-family housing. He is a consistent multi-million dollar producer for whom smart, personalized client service is key. Over 90 percent of his ongoing business is referred from satisfied clients. In his past life, David worked in yacht delivery, delivering privately-owned classic yachts from the East Coast to the Caribbean, transatlantic, Mediterranean and North Sea; his responsibilities ranged from captain to crew. David holds a degree in Business Administration/Finance from Western Michigan University and attended the University of Nottingham, England where he studied Medieval West History and Victorian Literature. After graduating David moved to Chicago where he worked as a Eurodollar Futures Broker while teaching sailing at Northwestern University during his lunch breaks. David moved to Portland in 1999 and has never looked back. In recent history (2015), David and his partner, of 17+ years, Grant, sailed their boat out the Columbia River, turned left, and headed south, exploring the Sea of Cortez and Pacific Coast of Mexico for over nine months. He is a strong supporter of the ALS Association of Oregon and SW Washington, Basic Rights Oregon, p:ear, Urban Gleaners, Oregon Wild, Habitat for Humanity, Willamette River Keepers and is a member of Vancouver Lake Crew and the Rose City Yacht Club.
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