North Park Blocks

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North Park Blocks
ParkBlocksElephantPortland.jpg
A statue of Elephants in the North Park Blocks
Type Urban park
Location Portland, Oregon, United States
Coordinates 45°31′28″N 122°40′43″W / 45.52444°N 122.67861°W / 45.52444; -122.67861Coordinates: 45°31′28″N 122°40′43″W / 45.52444°N 122.67861°W / 45.52444; -122.67861[1]
Area 3.11 acres (1.26 ha)
Operated by Portland Parks & Recreation
Status Open 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

The North Park Blocks form a city park in downtown Portland, Oregon, in the United States.[2]

Captain John H. Couch deeded the five blocks to the city in 1865, and they were officially platted for a municipal park in 1869.[3][4] An ordinance was passed in 1904, setting aside one park block for women and children.[5] In 1906, another block was added for a children's playground.[5] The playground was divided into a boy's playground and a small child and girl's playground.[5] Use of the North Park Blocks declined, especially as the 1924 zoning code did not preserve residential uses near them.[5]

By the 1940s, the North Park Blocks area was decidedly neglected.[3] A problem with the homeless and aggressive panhandlers led to Daisy Kingdom and the U.S. Customs House to hire security guards, and park sprinklers were set to intermittently spray sleepers. In 1989, the problem was worse; that year the local Montessori School found drug users and discarded needles in the city playground.[6]

In 2002, Chinese foundry owner Huo Baozhu gave bronze elephants, full-size reproductions of Shang Dynasty statues, to Portland. The city placed them on the North Park Blocks where children could interact with them.[7]

In recent years, the North Park Blocks have experienced a renaissance. Upscale condominiums and creative commercial buildings have replaced vacant or underutilized buildings. The crown jewel is the new campus for the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Oregon’s flagship school of art and design since 1909.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "North Park Blocks". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. May 26, 2004. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  2. ^ "North Park Blocks". Portland Parks & Recreation. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Pickett, Nelson (March 20, 1992). "North Park Blocks improvements under way". The Oregonian. p. E02. 
  4. ^ Nicholas, Jonathan (December 24, 1991). "Setting straight the crooked record". The Oregonian. p. D01. 
  5. ^ a b c d Mackenzie, Hilary (1988). The Portland Park Blocks: their origin and development (thesis). Seattle, Washington: University of Washington. OCLC 19841853. 
  6. ^ Lane, Dee (May 27, 1990). "Running out of patience". The Oregonian. p. B01. 
  7. ^ Leeson, Fred; Chuang, Angie (May 11, 2002). "Elephant in bronze will grace Portland". The Oregonian. p. A01.