Carol McCracken (Post # 2,334)
Friends, neighbors and the city came together this morning to celebrate the rebirth of a neglected park in the center of Portland’s Arts District. Congress Square Park long neglected by the City had turned into an eyesore of which no one was proud and many people avoided. Today marks a new start for this jewel of a park – bounded on one side by the Westin Hotel and on another by the Portland Museum of Art.
Over the past two decades, the once vibrant Congress Square Park deteriorated as funding for the park was cut. As a result, programming was abandoned and the infrastructure began to fall into disrepair. The area no longer felt safe,……,” according to a press release from the Friends. But the Friends rolled up their sleeves, got to work and persevered in transforming this empty space into today’s gem. .
“Working with Southwest Airlines and Project for Public Spaces (PPS) has been a game changer for Congress Square Park,” said David LaCasse, president of the Friends of Congress Park. “This is a prime example of how the public and private sectors can come together, with strong community support and turn an empty public space into a local gathering place.” LaCasse added that 100 events have been planned for this summer at the Park. He also thanked the Planning Office for its consistent support and cooperation.
“It’s an exciting day to be here in Portland – walking through Congress Square Park you can really feel the power of place making and the community connections already happening because of the work done in this place,” said Patty Greene, Southwest Airlines’ Community Affairs Regional Leader. “At Southwest, we believe in the power of place making and I’m excited to see how the Heart of the Community grant will continue to impact Portland and contribute to the exciting transformation that has already begun here.” Green, who is from Chicago, said she has never been to Portland before, but she will.return.
Cynthia Nikitin, of Project for Public Spaces, was expected to attend this morning’s launch, but was delayed in Baltimore last night because of thunderstorms..
“I told you we had a vision and a plan,” said LaCasse, joking with a former non-believer!
Please visit the website for more information and extensive programming planned for this summer at: congresssquarepark.org Memberships are available.
programing notes: Friday,June 26, at 6:00 pm Music in the Square: Jerks of Grass & Flight 317; Sunday, June 28th at 30 pm, Films in the Square: North by Northwest.
Please visit Post # 2,332, dated June 22, 2015, herein, for more background information on Launch.