Monday, December 12, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Jean Godden

No Paucity Of Parks In Portland

What's Portland got that Seattle doesn't? Portland has lousier weather: hotter in summer and colder in winter.

Portland has only one major-league team, less live theater, kitschier art. (Can you believe a fountain with three naked figures popularly known as "three groins in the fountain"?) Portland lacks Seattle's breathtaking saltwater scenes and can't touch its views of the Cascade and Olympic mountains.

But Portland leaves Seattle in the dust when it comes to parks.

Portland, estimated population 443,000, has more than 10,000 acres of parkland within its 124.7 square miles. In the downtown area alone, Portland has 85 acres of parks (126 if you count the northwest hills). Downtown Portland has north and south Park Blocks (18 square blocks in all) and 14 other county and city parks, some of them as sizable as the Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Seattle, estimated population 528,500 with a 91.6-square-mile area, sets aside only 30.65 acres for downtown parks (not enough for a good-sized corn field). That includes Denny, Occidental, City Hall, Steinbrueck and Westlake.

What's worse is that Seattle seems poised to surrender some of its pathetic downtown park acreage to the mayor's plan to reestablish traffic on a one-block stretch of Pine Street through the heart of Westlake Park. The City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposal at 5 p.m. tomorrow in the council chambers.

It won't be surprising if the hearing turns into a mere formality, since Nordstrom and downtown developers appear to have the upper hand with the council. But it would be a pitiful footnote to 35 years of trying to breathe life into downtown's only central people place.

Sax appeal: The ultimate holiday gift for a Democrat is a CD that's airing on KPLU. Featured artist on the CD, titled "The Pres Blows," is President Clinton. The 18-minute jam session was taped live when the president was in Prague last January.

Czech President Vaclav Havel handed Clinton a saxophone. His impromptu performance of "Summertime" and "My Funny Valentine" was taped. It's mellow, even if it's not quite up to Garfield Jazz Band standards. Proceeds go to the Coalition for the Homeless. (Call 1-800-666-5277 for information.)

Turning green: Chances are there isn't a pint of poison lime-green paint left in all Puget Sound.

The toxic shade has been used to wash the 20-foot ceilings and soaring walls of Two Angels Antiques, a shop that opened Saturday at 1301 First Ave.

Proprietors are two well-known locals, Sally Maryatt and Steve Glueck. The far-out decor turns the place into a box of treasures, everything from continental antiques to 15th and 18th century hand-carved figures. Hanging rakishly from the ceiling over the grand piano are four French Giltwood chairs. Great if you're looking for something to set off your Picasso.

Write on: Five-year-old Sally Namur, daughter of West Seattleites Anne and Marc Namur, is trying so hard to be nice so she'll make Santa Claus' list of good boys and girls. It's a struggle. After one naughty moment, Sally asked, "Mom, does Santa write in pencil or pen?"

Her majesty: Vanity plate on the Jaguar spotted near the Arboretum: QE III.

Jean Godden's column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the Local News section of The Times. Her phone is 464-8300.

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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