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Friday, January 8, 2010

Portland's Living Room

Many big metropolitan cities pride themselves on gems in the city that set them apart or even make the city feel more like a town. In New York, Central Park allows for a respite from the craziness of those towering buildings and hectic residents. One of Portland's prides is Pioneer Courthouse Square, nicknamed "Portland's Living Room." Many an event has occurred here in this brick-covered plaza, including Christmas Tree lightings, fireworks for New Year's, Sand in the City, Tuba Christmas, and Festa Italiana. More than 26,000 people travel through the Square each day - the single most visited site in Oregon's single most visited city. And if you're from out of town, there's a chance this sign will point you home.

Which Way?

Portland residents are truly proud of this urban space. The bricks that cover the plaza, built in 1984, are inscribed with the names of loved ones and friends. Over 71,000 bricks are placed at the Square and include the names of Ronald Reagan, Barbara Walters, Mickey Mouse, and my childhood friend Alex Brown. But the bricks are not the only quirky quality of the Square. The whimsical sign above, bronze chess boards along Morrison Street, a weather machine, keystone lectern, local news station, Starbucks, and waterfall. There's even an echo chamber tucked away in the corner near the small amphitheater below the Starbucks. But perhaps one of the most photographed items is this bronze sculpture, captured here in an unexpected snow fall.

Umbrella for the Snow

A signature Portland icon, this sculpture is titled Allow Me. It was created by J. Seward Johnson of Princeton, New Jersey, who has created public bronze sculptures for urban spaces in New York, L.A., Oakland, and Kansas City. Many a tourist has posed under this umbrella and even sought refuge here from those famous Portland rains, or those surprising snow showers.

Eric Lovelin Photography

1 comment:

  1. the statue looks so great with the snowfall! almost like a real moment captured in time.