Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square

February 18th, 2009

VIDEO





SITE LAYOUT



Pioneer Courthouse Square is rated as one of the top public spaces in the country by both the Project for Public Spaces and the American Planning Association.



URBAN CONTEXT







The Square is located just northeast of the heart of downtown Portland, in close proximity to much of Portland’s downtown retail.




PIONEER COURTHOUSE




The beautiful courthouse is just over 50,000 square feet in size. It was first completed circa 1875, and is listed as a National Register of Historic Places Landmark Structure. Its stately presence frames in the square, while in return, the open space contributes to the courthouse’s visual prominence.



VISITOR’S INFORMATION CENTER

A visitor’s information center is built right into the side of the square and surrounded by a large water feature.



“PORTLAND’S LIVING ROOM”

Providing not only a great destination, but also the perfect place to stroll while passing through


Whether you are catching a concert, eating lunch, or just people watching; the space’s flexible design provides plenty of seating.


The layout provides an excellent space for community festivals, performances, and movie nights!


The Square is considered the nerve center of downtown Portland—with some 26,000 residents, workers, and tourists interacting with it daily. And holds as many as 191 events in a single year!



MAX Light Rail







Pioneer Courthouse Square’s success was in many ways buoyed by a partnership with the local transit authority. Planned concurrently with the MAX light rail system, the Square functions as a vibrant transit hub.



HISTORY


The Square sits on a site that was once occupied by the “glorious Portland Hotel”, but that building was torn-down in 1951 to make way for a new surface parking lot. Pioneer Courthouse Square was officially opened on April 6, 1984 after years of planning and fundraising – including the sale of thousands of personalized bricks with which the Square was ultimately constructed.



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FEEDBACK

What do you think? Would people in Oklahoma City use a public space like Pioneer Courthouse Square? Do you think we already have a downtown public space of this caliber? If we did try to build such a space, where should it go? What should it be near? Could it be built alongside the transit being considered for Maps3?



2 responses

  1. Shane comments:

    Cool video!

    Pioneer Square is a good space- I don’t think we have a space like that in OKC, but that might just be because places like Kerr Park, which may be the closest thing we have to a multipurpose plaza- are so underutilized.

    Something near the new boulevard would probably be a good success- it could be close to transit, convention center, retail, residences, and this type of plaza has to draw on a lot of sources of passers by. If Kerr Park were programmed a little more year round, it could be more utilized.

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