Pioneer Courthouse Square
Pioneer Courthouse Square, commonly known as Portland’s living room, is a public space in the heart of downtown Portland, Oregon, that spans a whole 40,000 square feet. Since 1984, Portland has had a dynamic downtown gathering spot.
Pioneer Courthouse Square, located in the heart of downtown Portland, is the urban park at the hub of events, community, and all things Portland.
Pioneer Courthouse Square holds over 300 events each year that bring the city and its citizens together while also serving as an informal gathering spot for long-time residents and visitors alike.
Whatever brought you to Portland or keeps you here, you’ll find your bearings at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Visiting Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Your journey to Portland, Oregon begins at Pioneer Courthouse Square, where you may attend an event, shop, explore the bricks, or stop for lunch at one of the quirky food carts.
Pioneer Courthouse Square has been recognized as Portland’s “Living Room” since its inception in 1984.
Since its grand opening in 1984, The Square, a 40,006 square foot urban park in the center of downtown Portland, has been a public meeting space for the benefit of Portland’s community members and visitors.
Every year, the Square stages more than 300 events that represent the Square’s civic role in the city. Visit the World Forestry Center
The block has a long history, having served as the location of a City school (1856 Central School), the 1890 Portland Hotel, and a two-story parking lot in 1951.
The Portland Hotel’s archway and gatework are still visible in the Square.
Pioneer Courthouse Square won an Architectural Design Citation from Progressive Architecture magazine in 1981 for its visionary design, which was the outcome of a national design competition.
Portland’s greatest tribute to the strength and persistence of its civic will has been the vision.
The original construction of Pioneer Square was partially sponsored by inscribed bricks donated by the “Friends of Pioneer Square.”
The Square also houses a number of significant works of art, including:
Allow Me (business-suited man with umbrella) Weather Machine, a 33-foot tall metal column capped with a big silver orb, was created by Seward Johnson in 1988.
The orb shows the weather at noon each day, with a golden leaf for a clear day, a silver great blue heron for a rainy, foggy gloomy day, an open-mouthed dragon for impending storms, and a light bulb (reminiscent of a mercury thermometer) that lights up as the temperature rises.
Pioneer Courthouse Square is one of Oregon’s most visited public spaces, with over 10 million visitors each year.
The Square was in desperate need of repair and rehabilitation after thirty years of community enjoyment, with a failing waterproof membrane, deteriorated brick plaza, structural failures, and stoa column repairs, as well as restroom modifications for safety and accessibility.
The membrane beneath the brick pavers was designed to last only twenty years and had reached the point of near-failure after thirty years, allowing water to seep in and cause leaks to grow.
The Parks Replacement Bond, a proposal that resulted in up to $68 million in general obligation bonds, was approved by the Portland community in 2014.
The capital costs of repairs and improvements to existing park amenities are covered by bond funds.
The restoration of Pioneer Courthouse Square, the much-loved City’s “living room,” has received considerable community support, according to park outreach.
The Parks SDC fund donated $150,000 since a small portion of this project (restroom enlargement) was eligible for System Development Charge money.
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