Saturday, September 06, 2014

St. Francis Park Fountain

Some time ago, I posted some photos of SE Portland's St. Francis Park, a small and rather run-down park owned by the adjacent Catholic church. One of the things that made it seem especially decrepit was the park's old fountain, which sat dry and abandoned in the middle of the park. I think there were even weeds growing in it. It hadn't run for many years and I just assumed it was broken, but some time in the last few weeks they turned it back on and have been running it regularly. I heard about this on the net somewhere and went to check it out, and took photos and a short video clip. A number of other people were there just watching it, like it was something they'd never expected to see either.

It's a fairly elaborate water feature. The water flows out of a low steel sculpture by Bruce West, cascading into a small pool. From there an artificial stream burbles downhill to a lower pool, with some rustic wood bridge structures around it. The video clip follows the water backwards from the lower pool.

The odd thing about this is the timing. The church just announced a plan to tear out the park and replace it with an affordable housing complex. Neighborhood groups aren't thrilled by the idea, and are looking for options that would keep the park in place. So why run the fountain now? Maybe they're open to selling it to the city instead, and maybe they're showing off the fountain to help gin up some interest in the idea, or boost the selling price a bit. Or maybe it's just to see what condition the park's current plumbing is in before they go tearing it up. I dunno. My sentiments here are similar to what I said about the "Fountain for a Rose" in O'Bryant Square: If the park has to to go away or be completely redone, I hope they'd at least keep the fountain around. If not in place, at least relocate it somewhere else.

No comments :