Some good can come of sitting at your desk, staring out the window. Take Dick Fagan, columnist for the old Oregon Journal. Looking down on what is now Naito Parkway in downtown Portland one day, a patch of weeds in the middle of the median strip caught his eye.
The space was supposed to hold a lamppost, but that never showed up, so the tiny square had grown into an eyesore.
An Irishman through and through, Fagan celebrated St. Patrick's Day of 1948 by planting flowers in the little plot and christening it "Mill Ends Park, the smallest park in the world." To the delight of readers, he then populated it with "a colony of leprechauns, the only colony west of the Emerald Isle" and chronicled the comings and goings within its modest confines in his column, "Mill Ends."
Fagan died in 1969, but the park lives on. It was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1971, dedicated as a city park in 1976, and has been rebuilt and replanted many times over the years.
So the next time you catch yourself staring out the window, look closely: Leprechauns may be in short supply, but Dick Fagan proved that there are little bits of magic lurking in the everyday. Naito Parkway and Taylor Street. Portland Parks & Recreation: (503) 823-2223.