During the 1960s, Portland officials sought to energize their public spaces, and Lawrence Halprin & Associates was commissioned to redesign an eight-block sequence of parks. Planned as a series of outdoor rooms, the design presents a procession of four public spaces connected via leafy allées: starting with the Source Fountain designed by Angela Danadjieva, before proceeding to Lovejoy Plaza, Pettygrove Park, and terminating at Ira Keller Forecourt Fountain (formerly named Auditorium Forecourt). Featuring large-scale highly animated fountains with waterfalls and pools, these spaces offer abstracted representations of the nearby Cascade Range and Columbia River in an urban environment. Following the opening of the Ira Keller Forecourt Fountain in June, 1970, New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable dubbed it “one of the most important urban spaces since the Renaissance.”
The Halprin Landscape Conservancy was founded in 2001 as an advocacy organization to preserve, enhance, and activate the Portland Open Space Sequence. In 2008, it co-produced a National Endowment of the Arts American Masterpiece entitled The City Dance of Lawrence and Anna Halprin, a major dance/music performance that drew thousands to the Sequence, and a monograph on its history. In 2013, the Conservancy listed the Sequence's four fountain plazas (including the Source Fountain designed by Danadjieva) and connecting allées in the National Register of Historic Places under the category of Landscape Architecture. That same year, the conservancy launched a public/private campaign to fund improvements that would restore and maintain the Sequence. Planned rehabilitate efforts include the drainage and repair of mechanical systems, the pruning and thinning of trees, a lighting assessment, and the repair of walls and other concrete structures.
The budget for the project is estimated at $4.65 million and is being funded through three avenues: a voluntary local improvement district in which neighboring property owners will adopt a tax to produce $2.15 million; approximately $2 million in city matching funds; and $500,000 through private donations. To date, the campaign has raised $3.4 million towards the goal. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2017.
If you wish to donate, tax-deductible contributions can be made here, or by writing to the Halprin Landscape Conservancy, c/o Naito Development, 210 SW Morrison Street, Suite 600, Portland, OR, 97204.
Bittermann has a degree in Fine Art Photography from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. After graduating, he worked in marketing and strategic planning in the architecture industry for more than a decade. Bittermann’s experience in the design industry led him to produce and assist on numerous photo shoots for acclaimed architectural photographers. He established his own architectural photography practice in 2010 and has since had his work featured in numerous notable publications.