The beautiful Portland Park Blocks are split into two sections: the North Park Blocks and the South Park Blocks. The South Park Blocks start at PSU and run North past a number of churches, the PCPA, and the Schnitz where they run smack in to the Arlington Club. From there, there is a run of blocks of normal commercial development before the park picks up again just North of Burnside. Some people dream of demolishing all of those buildings and connecting the park blocks, which will most likely not happen in my lifetime. The park blocks don’t really connect anyway, as the North Park Blocks are one block East of the South Park Blocks.
At any rate, awhile ago there was an open block that was being used as a parking lot and the powers that be got together and suddenly (actually it took a long time and was delayed for seemingly ever) there is a park where there once was a parking lot. So I bring you my review of Simon and Helen Director Park.
It looks better than a parking lot. But I think the scale is weird. The Southwest corner has a large awning type thing that is very very high and I think it makes the rest of the park look small. It looks like it is looming over the tiny people, ready to stomp on them. Interestingly, the picture of the artists rendering in the link above cuts off this structure almost entirely.
I do like the granite color they have chosen. However, I’m still distracted by the large sheet of glass, ready to cause mayhem above me. Aside from the height of the roof, the supporting beams seem too thin and thus out of scale.
Unlike Pioneer Courthouse Square, which really is Portland’s Living Room, there also seem to be few places to sit. I think this makes the chances of the park becoming a cold, windswept plaza even more likely.
Here’s the Teacher’s Fountain in recognition of teachers “selfless and untiring efforts to inspire the hearts and minds of their students.” Right now it looks like a granite ball. Yay. A ball. But perhaps that water in the artists rendering has something to do with it.
Here is a closer look at the out of proportion glass cover, with actual human people so you can get a sense of scale. The building on the left will be a restaurant of some sort.
In conclusion, I’m not immediately charmed by Director Park. We shall see if my view changes over time.