Originally known as the Auditorium Forecourt or Forecourt Fountain, this park was opened in the 1970s. This was n area that was initially part of the Municipal Auditorium. It was not until 1978 that the park was renamed the Ira Keller Park. It was named in honor of the former head of Portland’s Development Commission. Ira Keller held this position from 1958 until 1972.
There are several features that are landmarks and attractions for visitors and residents alike. However, the water fountain is the feature that attracts people to this beautiful park.
The fountain is made of concrete, and in 1999, the park was received honors given by the American Society of Landscape Architects. Although the park is known as the Ira Keller Fountain Park, the water fountain is known as Ira Keller Fountain.
The Ira Keller Fountain Park is considered an urban park that is located in Portland, Oregon. It only occupies .37 acres that are between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. During the time of construction, the piece of land belonged to the Auditorium.
The Concept Of The Park
The design of the park and fountain was done by design architect, Lawrence Halprin. His got inspiration for his designs came from the Cascades of the Columbia River Gorge that is located on the eastern side of Portland.
Halprin’s work has always been marked with significant attention to the experience of the user, humanistic values and the impact socially of these designs. Simply put, he designed the park with an emphasis on the benefit, enjoyment, and use of the public.
The park has long been considered throughout the entire project as an opportunity to be a refuge for park goers who are looking for an escape from the streets of Portland.
Different Spaces Within The Space
The park, whose greatest attraction is the fountain, allows visitors the chance to swim or stand at the top of the waterfalls. As a result, building codes and other restrictions were put in place to avoid or prevent falls from that height.
The vegetation that is around the fountain is primarily pine trees, and the abstract design of the urban park allows visitors to marvel, from close observation, the various processes, shapes and interactions of the materials used.
The surface of the fountain provides numerous places for visitors to sit down and relax. They can do so without losing sight of the uniqueness and paralleled beauty of the park and the fountain.
During the 1970s, the park became the unwittingly involved in protests between residents and law enforcement. The demonstrations and protests took on a ‘Wild West’ vibe as city officials chose to give their speeches from the foot of the fountain, while anti-war protesters made their way to the top of the fountain to give their rebuttals.
However, once the water began flowing from the fountain’s spigots at 3000 gallons a minute, the protests and demonstrations quickly subsided. Lawrence Halprin saw the demonstrations as a perfect example of democracy and the personification of the designs he had for the fountain park.
Ira Keller Fountain Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. With the park’s stunning water fountain and abstract design, it is the perfect place to begin your outdoor adventure while in Portland.
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