Tanner Springs Park

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Tanner Springs Park
Tanner Springs Park.JPG
Tanner Springs Park in 2009
TypeUrban park
LocationPortland, Oregon
Coordinates45°31′52″N 122°40′55″W / 45.531203°N 122.681894°W / 45.531203; -122.681894Coordinates: 45°31′52″N 122°40′55″W / 45.531203°N 122.681894°W / 45.531203; -122.681894[1]
Area0.92 acres (0.37 ha)
Operated byPortland Parks & Recreation
StatusOpen 5 a.m. to midnight daily

Tanner Springs Park is a city park in Portland, Oregon's Pearl District.[2][3]


Part of a 1999 Pearl District plan, the park was originally named North Park Square, but was renamed in April 2005.[2] Originally, the park was to be designed by Maya Lin, but concerns about her large sculpture, called "Playground", worried Pearl District residents who did not want another child-friendly park only two blocks from Jamison Square.[4][5]


The park in 2012

Connected to the busy Jamison Square two blocks away by a wooden boardwalk made of ipê, Tanner Springs Park is quiet and naturalistic, designed by Atelier Dreiseitl and GreenWorks PC.[3][6][7] Stripping away the industrial cover helped reconnect the neighborhood with the pre-industrial wetlands, especially Tanner Creek, which ran through the area.[2][7] The New York Times described it as "a sort of cross between an Italian piazza and a weedy urban wetland with lots of benches perched beside gently running streams."[8] The waterscape was designed by architect Herbert Dreiseitl, who spent time perfecting the sound made by the rushing water.[7] The park is planted with tall native grasses, and includes Oregon oak, red alder and bigleaf maple trees, salvaged in the region and planted as mature trees.[9]

The east wall of the park includes an art installation called Artwall, primarily composed of rail tracks recovered from the area placed vertically along the east wall. Portland Terminal Railroad donated the rails, recovered from the region. Some rails date back to 1898. Bullseye Glass, a local glass art company, supplied 99 translucent blue pieces of glass, which are interspersed in the rails. They were painted by Herbert Dreiseitl with scenes of indigenous animals.[9]


The park, 2013

After early damage to the pond's ecosystem, signs were placed to explicitly indicate pets are not allowed.[10][11][12]

Some visitors consider the park a waste of money,[13] while others appreciate the serenity that a pocket park can provide in the middle of the city.[13][14] Still others participate in yoga in the park.[7]

The park has been called a "beautiful little oasis",[15] and architect Laurie Olin remarked:

I've heard some Portlanders are snippy about Dreiseitl's park, boutique ecology and all that. I like the concept, but I'm not crazy about the proportions, for instance, of the stair-step grass seats. I like the idea of recycling the railroad rails and the sense of memory, but they look nasty and scary and that you're going to hurt yourself. The walkways are too Uncle Wiggly to me, too cutesy. But that's one designer criticizing the other designer's cuffs and pockets. I'm not arguing with the raison d'etre.[16]


  1. ^ "Tanner Springs Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. March 29, 2010. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Tanner Springs Park". Portland Parks & Recreation. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Easton, Valerie (November 5, 2006). "Nature, Artfully Embraced". The Seattle Times. The Seattle Times Company. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  4. ^ Mitchell, S. Renee (September 18, 2002). "In the Pearl, not even best gems make cut". The Oregonian.
  5. ^ Gragg, Randy (January 19, 2003). "Put it in Park?". The Oregonian.
  6. ^ Gragg, Randy (June 10, 2002). "Going with the Flow". The Oregonian.
  7. ^ a b c d "Party's elsewhere, but the peace is all here". Portland Tribune. Pamplin Media Group. May 29, 2007. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  8. ^ Laskin, David (March 16, 2007). "In Portland, Ore., Where Trees and Imagination Are Evergreen". The New York Times. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  9. ^ a b Johns, Anna (July 29, 2005). "Amid condos, a spot to contemplate". Portland Tribune. Pamplin Media Group. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  10. ^ Leeson, Fred (May 25, 2006). "Pearl asks dog owners to pick up". The Oregonian.
  11. ^ Yardley, William (September 2, 2009). "Oregon Wants 'Dog Friendly' to Be Less So". The New York Times. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  12. ^ Wood, Deborah (August 2, 2005). "Briefly New Pearl District park off-limits to canines". The Oregonian.
  13. ^ a b Korn, Peter (July 4, 2006). "Visit, but don't play". Portland Tribune. Pamplin Media Group. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  14. ^ Laskin, David (December 17, 2006). "Visiting Asia Without Crossing the Pacific". The New York Times. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  15. ^ Dworkin, Andy (December 16, 2007). "Footsteps lead from fountains...". The Oregonian.
  16. ^ Gragg, Randy (November 8, 2006). "Slight Lines - Of parks and plazas". The Oregonian.

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