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This area of Portland was the industrial side of the river with early hotels, the railroad station, and a paddle boat dock that paddled to the 1st Island Pavilion.
The park is the site of the Verlen Kruger Memorial.
Verlen Kruger was born on June 30, 1922 in Pulaski County, Indiana and died on August 2, 2004. He was a canoe enthusiast who paddled over 100,000 miles in his lifetime. Verlen Kruger paddled the most miles (over 100,000 miles) of anyone in the sport according to the Guinness Book of World Records. This is all the more remarkable because he did not start until age 41. Of particular note are the 18,232 mi Two Continent Canoe Expedition and the 28,040 mi Ultimate Canoe Challenge, the longest canoe journey ever.
A bronze statue of Kruger was erected on the banks of the Grand River in Portland, Michigan by family and friends in 2010.