A Park for Mary Jane | The Leaflet | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Your support for independent local news is important.

The Source Weekly has been Central Oregon’s locally owned news outlet for over 23 years. We have always been the definition of "support local." Our success in navigating this new world is tied to the success we experience in pulling together for the common good.

Quality local journalism takes a group of dedicated reporters passionate about democracy and open government. This story is the result of our hard work, and in normal times, the result of the support of the advertisers in Central Oregon. In the age of COVID-19, however, that support has taken a hit—but that’s where you come in.

Before you read on, we ask you to consider becoming a member of our Source Insider membership program at bendsource.com/insider.

Support Us Here

Special Issues & Guides » The Leaflet

A Park for Mary Jane

...but not that kind of Mary Jane

by

comment

Tucked away on the corner of NW Lava Road and Georgia Avenue in downtown Bend is a park that's something of an anomaly in the city. It's privately owned, managed by its next-door neighbor and named after a longtime Bendite. But when Mary Jane's Park was given its name around 2006, in honor of Bend local, Mary Jane Newton, its founders from the Old Bend Neighborhood Association might not have imagined the type of attention the park would get in the age of legal weed. Newton, who lived for many years across the street from the park, on Kansas Avenue, passed away in 2018 at age 99.

NICOLE VULCAN
  • Nicole Vulcan

The term 'Mary Jane' is lumped among other such old-school marijuana monikers—ganja, cheeba, grass among them. The connection between pot nicknames and the given name of a Bend local is a funny, coincidental collision—but for the caretaker of Mary Jane's Park, it's meant dealing with stolen park signs, and also a fairly regular rotation of smokers, lighting up doobs in the park.

Meredith Dawson tells me she's been the primary caretaker of the park for the past 10 years—a job that includes planting—and replanting—its native grasses, maintaining the raised garden beds, encouraging good behavior in the park, and of course, recounting its ups and downs to the occasional reporter.

"When you have a sign that has 'Mary Jane' on it, it becomes of great interest. It's what I call being punked," Dawson said.

"Two signs were taken after I moved in. One of them was along the hedge line, and it was kind of an instruction of the park," Dawson explained. "It lasted about 10 days."

As a general guideline, Dawson encourages people to enjoy the park; to use it as a place for relaxation and repose, and to respect that it's private property where things like puffing in public (which is illegal, according to state law), drawing pot leaves on the sign—or even stealing anything that might say "Mary Jane" isn't the type of attention they're going for.

We might all be able to enjoy the Mary Jane these days—but when it comes to Mary Jane's Park, let's all remember to save some enjoyment for the next person, shall we?

COURTESY MEREDITH DAWSON
  • Courtesy Meredith Dawson

Add a comment

Latest in The Leaflet

More in The Leaflet

  • The Leaflet — Fall 2019

    The Leaflet — Fall 2019

    Highlighting an emerging and ever-changing industry
    • Oct 22, 2019
  • Connecting the Community

    Connecting the Community

    From cannabis tours to farm dinners, local events are aimed at educating consumers
    • Oct 9, 2019
  • Green Rush Red Tape

    Green Rush Red Tape

    Hindrances to bringing hemp to market in the High Desert 
    • Oct 9, 2019
  • Hemp for Pets

    Hemp for Pets

    CBD and hemp oil have the potential to provide natural healing for animals
    • Oct 9, 2019
  • Street Beat: Budtenders Know Best

    Street Beat: Budtenders Know Best

    We asked locals: What strains do workers in the industry enjoy the most?
    • Oct 9, 2019
  • The Vaping Question

    The Vaping Question

    With a second vaporizer-related death in Oregon, the governor issues a temporary ban
    • Oct 9, 2019
  • What's Up in the World of Weed

    What's Up in the World of Weed

    A local opt-out vote, a statewide business initiative and other news happening in cannabis today
    • Oct 9, 2019
  • More »

More by Nicole Vulcan