The last time Mill Ends Park was in the news, it was full of teeny-tiny plastic police officers, a whole lot of teeny-tiny protest signs, and one scrawny evergreen tree.
That’s the kind of place it is, all 452 square inches of it.
What’s billed as the world’s smallest park, tucked inside a concrete circle just 2 feet across, is a quirky Portland kind of place.
It’s the site of itty-bitty protests — including that 2011 Occupy Portland protest covered by CNN affiliate KATU — teensy-weensy swimming pools and way small diving boards — for the diminutive butterflies, of course.
And now, someone’s stolen its lone tree. The diminutive evergreen disappeared sometime last week from the downtown street-corner park, KATU reported, citing the Portland Parks and Recreation Department.
It’s more of a crisis than you might think: The place is also reputedly the home of leprechaun Patrick O’Toole, whom the late Oregon Journal columnist Dick Fagan claimed granted him a wish of having his own park.
According to the parks department, Fagan planted flowers in an unused hole in the median outside his newsroom office way back in 1948.
He frequently wrote about it in the years before his death in 1969, frequently weaving in fanciful tales involving O’Toole and other leprechauns, according to numerous accounts of the celebrated little park.
The city took it over on St. Patrick’s Day in 1976, and good-natured park workers have tended to the tiny plot ever since.
So, on discovering the tree was gone, of course they quickly scraped up $3.25 for a new one, hurried downtown and planted the replacement before the notoriously fickle-tempered leprechaun could make any trouble, KATU reported.
The new tree is a Douglas fir sapling, CNN affiliate KPTV reported.
“It was important to replace it so the leprechaun there had some shade from the sun,” a suitably deferential park official, Mark Ross, told KATU.
By Michael Pearson
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