Keller blocks

Lovejoy Fountain Park:
Pettygrove Park:

walk - 09/28/2005
the Keller blocks
Perhaps the nicest part of downtown Portland to walk is also the least walked. The Urban Renewal or Keller (named for Ira Keller, the first chairman of the Portland Development Commission in the 1950s) blocks are a fifteen-block loop, and one of the most pleasant areas of downtown Portland.

These walking areas are located in the south end of downtown and have the distinction of being hidden in plain sight. The paths are heavily treed, and dotted with parks and fountains. This is the perfect place to stretch your legs, cool off on a warm day, get a breath of fresh air, and slow down for a moment.

The concrete paths follow the outlines of 2nd and 3rd Avenues, between Market and Lincoln Streets. Let's start at the Ira Keller Fountain (aka Fourcourt Fountain) at 3rd & Market. Fourcourt is a popular place to bring the kids during hot weather, as well as just hang out, eat lunch, etc. Noted architect Lawrence Halprin designed the fountain, and Ursula LeGuin wrote about it.

If you're a bit peckish, a burrito from Fuego (on Market between 2nd & 3rd) is a cheap, portable option. The Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield (100 SW Market St, enter on what would be 2nd by the fountain) offers discounted healthy meals. Other options include Carafe (french bistro, lovely wines, good mixed drinks) and Murata (some of the best sushi in town).

Parts of the blocks, but by no means all, are wheelchair-accessible.

Lawrence Halprin's urban plazas: Ada Louise Huxtable, America's gift to architecture criticism, once called Portland's Keller Fountain "one of the most important urban spaces since the Renaissance." Designed by San Francisco landscape designer Lawrence Halprin, its stunning waterfall offset by wading pools and platforms invites both contemplation and participation. The Keller -- along with two Halprin-designed public spaces nearby, the Lovejoy Fountain and Pettygrove Park -- changed the way American landscape architects thought about city parks, and it sparked a Portland tradition of great urban plazas and parks. Southwest Third and Clay Street, across from Keller Auditorium
from the Oregonian, World Class Oregon II, Sunday, October 02, 2005

filled under walking, downtown
May 31, 2007 | Permalink



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