The Grotto has provided a soothing retreat for Portlanders for 80 years.
Portland's National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother is not only a popular Catholic shrine drawing visitors from around the world, but also a relaxing refuge for the weary, whatever their faith.
Known affectionately as the Grotto, this lush 62-acre tract at Sandy Boulevard and NE 85th Avenue was once a rock quarry owned by the Union Pacific Railroad. The Order of Servants of Mary later acquired the property and created an urban oasis of gardens, sculptures, and shady paths.
The sanctuary's central attraction is Our Lady's Grotto, an altar dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus. The grotto was carved from a basalt cliff in 1923 and is now the setting for daily masses and special events such as the annual Blessing of the Animals (July 18 this year), when pets and their human companions fill the 600-seat outdoor chapel.
Visitors can also take an elevator ride up the 125-foot cliff to the meditation chapel and an awe-inspiring view of the city.
INFORMATION: (503) 254-7371, www.thegrotto.org .
Photography by Susan Seubert
This article was first published in July 2004. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.