When it was dedicated in 1971, The New York Times architectural critic Ada Louise Huxtable called this fountain “the greatest open space since the Renaissance.” It’s a rather exaggerated claim, but it goes to show you how hot Portland was in terms of urban planning and public art back in the early 1970s. Inspired by the rivers and waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest (although those don’t smell like chlorine—yet), this giant, rugged-looking fountain occupies a full city block directly opposite Keller Auditorium. Water flowing down through a grassy park planted with pine trees cascades over a series of multilevel concrete cliffs. Square, irregularly placed platforms over the pool act as stepping stones, allowing visitors to get close to the waterfall and even duck behind it. Angela Danadjieva designed the fountain for Lawrence Halprin & Associates.
- Donald Olson