Highlighting Portland – The Fountains

Every weekend I am going to be highlighting different areas of the city and state I live in. Bennie’s blog has several recent postings about his work visits to Portland and some of the local areas he has visited.

Oregon’s unemployment rate last month was 10% and growing. I want to do my part in letting people know what a great city and state I live in and invite you to come to Oregon and spend money.

I posted about the Portland bridges a couple of weeks ago. So now you know that Portland is a city divided by the Willamette River. But did you know that Portland’s love of water has spread to dry land? In downtown Portland there are 15 fountains of various size and design.

Rather than recreate something I am going to share what the Portland Water Bureau has on their website regarding Portland’s downtown municipal fountains.Each fountain is unique it is own way. There is the history of each fountain along with a photo.

Fountains in Southwest Portland: “These are the city’s fountains that I am most familiar with having worked in downtown Portland my entire adult life.”

  • Skidmore – Considered Portland’s oldest piece of artwork. Saturday Market surrounds this fountain.
  • Elk – Right smack in the center of Main Street as you enter downtown from the Hawthorne Bridge.
  • Salmon Street Springs – Located at Portland Waterfront Park a great place to let the kids cool of during on a hot summer day.
  • The Dreamer – recently restored
  • Ira Keller’s Civic Forecourt Fountain – Another fountain that locals use to cool off in on a hot summer day. I personally did just that when I was a teenager.
  • Lovejoy – Ditto what I wrote above
  • Chimney
  • The Car Wash” – This one is across the street from my office and the gathering place for us when we have to evacuate the building for a fire drill.
  • Animals in Pools – One of ten fountains installed along the downtown light rail route.
  • Kelly Fountain
  • The Bath Tub – Soon to be removed due to the expanded light rail project.
  • Pioneer Courthouse Square Waterfall – Probably the most visited as it is the focal point of Pioneer Courthouse Square.
  • Shemanski Fountain
  • O’Bryant Square – I used to work in the building across the street back in the early 80’s. My view was of this fountain and back in those days it was not unusual to see a homeless person bathing in the fountain in the early morning hours especially on weekends.
  • Commonwealth

So there you have it. A tour of downtown Portland’s water fountains. Unfortunately some will be or have already been removed or shut off due to the expanded light rail project. But the large more impressive fountains will remain as places that both locals and visitors can enjoy for years to come.

9 Responses

  1. You should be a tour guide for Oregon. You have great advice of what to go see and do in Oregon.

  2. Nice post, Jackie! Way to encourage the support of our economy. I, too, am doing my little bit by spending money like a drunk on things I probably really don’t need. But, you know, it’s only money. 🙂

    • Right, afterall it is only money! Next weekend’s post is highlighting some of the unique businesses in Portland. Then the next one is on Portland landmarks. I am thinking of doing one of the various distinct neighborhoods like Hawthorne, Sellwood, etc.and maybe one on the city parks.Got to get people to spend money so the small local businesses don’t go under.

  3. On behalf of the Portland Water Bureau, I thank you for your wonderful post on our beautiful fountains. You will be interested to know that we’ll be turning the fountains back-on for the warmer weather very soon!

    If anyone is interested in receiving a brochure that is a guided walking tour of the fountains, I would be happy to provide that! We have a beautiful brochure that touches on the history of each and is a great (FREE!) thing to do on a warm summer day! Please shoot me an e-mail at jennifer.day@ci.portland.or.us.


  4. Thanks for this. I like the fountains too, and have helped lead fountain walking tours downtown as part of Water Bureau Field Day. I’m surprised you did not mention the Benson bubblers, which also have a part in Portland history.

    I buy local as much as I can, especially in the Hawthorne/ Division area where I live. There is a lot of good shopping and coffee to be had around here!

    • Deb,
      I started to mention the Benson Bubblers but decided to stick just to the larger fountains. The BB are front and center in a photo I am using on a next weekend’s Portland series post regarding unique Portland businesses. The fountains are in the photo I am using of Saturday Market.I mentioned their name and linked again to the water bureau website.

  5. […] let me mention the unique fountains in downtown Portland. Drinking fountains  like the one  in this photo are found scattered all […]

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