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Audrey Alverson

You make a very good point, Brian. I think the new memorial is a valid and welcomed addition to the Eastbank Esplanade (and having seen some of the submissions, I think it has potential for greatness). However, why the need to dismantle and destroy the original? Certainly a restoration is possible? I think this situation speaks to a much larger issue in the context of what and how we value historical ideas and structures: Just tear it down and build a new one! Toxic thinking, in my opinion.

Jeff G

Maybe the problem isn't the existing memorial, but the location it resides, an odd shaped island formed by the intersections of 19th, 18th, Burnside/Alder. There is hardly any pedestrian traffic around the memorial. The primary experience people have with the memorial is seeing it (and the homeless people that congregate there) while they wait for the light to change at Burnside and 19th.

Eric Cantona

i think moving the memorial is a good idea, and that they are doing it very respectfully. one question that i have is what happens to the old memorial site? seems like that should be part of any proposal that removes the original work.

Tom Fallon

The existing memorial should be restored! I can't believe it would be a consideration to take it down even if they were planning on reusing parts of it in the new memorial. A new memorial is a great idea, but we must keep the old one!


I vaguely, if at all, recall any details about the proposed new fireman's memorial, but I do like the classic, simple beauty of the existing memorial on Burnside St. I also like the setting of big ancient elms and west hills providing it with a scenic background, as shown in Dan Haneckow's photo at top(except for the Oregonian's ugly concrete bunker of a warehouse, visible in the pic).

Burnside's huge volume of motor vehicle traffic right next to the classic memorial is bad. I suppose it's near impossible to to do anything about the traffic.

Here's a radical idea: What would be the feasibility of finding another location for this memorial, disassembling it and reassembling it there? Lownsdale or Chapman Square perhaps? The derelict O'Bryant Plaza on Washington St is scheduled for a renovation sometime in the not too far distant future; what about there? When the city was presented with that huge monolith piece of limestone from its Chinese sister city, it managed to find a location for it in Terry Schrunk Plaza. Surely it can do something approaching that gesture for the venerable Fireman's memorial.


So typically short sighted. No wonder we have so few historic places in Portland, or the West in general. Never bothering to keep or cherish what we have, the pursuit of a something better and new continuous destruction in the process of creation


The memorial should stay where is and intact, and be restored. A local conservator has taken a look at it and deemed it restorable. The fact that it is on a busy street should not be held against it. It has been along a busy street for more than 80 years. Yes a new memorial elsewhere would be fine, but not at the expense of losing the old one. We need to move a way from the "replace first" mindset (for all things) if we are ever going to get a handle on issues of sustainability.

Ms. Sherman

The homeless sleep under the structure built to protect the bell. The bell is not part of the historic monument, it was moved there I think from a firehouse on 3rd and Yamhill. Homeless sitting on the monuments seating area are not hurting the structure. The crowd at the monument is more family friendly than the crowd at McDonalds across the street. This is the work of a master and his former student. The monument belongs at this intersect which has always been a high traffic area. Blog chatter like this is wonderful because the community is realizing how much the monument is part of the character of the neighborhood. Folks new to Portland are learning history of a man who was the city's hero. I hope that the monument is restored soon and that the water once again flows creating a more inviting space. Currently under PBOT I hope the land is given to Portland parks and that a Friend Group forms to encourage creative use of a unique pocket park.


It would be nice to have this historic piece as a part of the new Memorial - why not restore it then move it to use as part of the new Memorial? I think it would be fitting to have the Memorial utilize both a historic element to honor those who came before us, and a new component reflecting our current and future heroes. It would be a nice contrast.

Richard Potestio

I believe it shocking that the historic memorial would be destroyed. What blind idiocy. This is a wonderful piece of urban architecture, an elegant sculpture designed by non other than Louis Kahn's mentor. Certainly a new memorial is fine and welcome, but not at the expense of this one. This memorial is one of the only uplifting structures along Burnside. Someday, in a city that has finally grown into its britches, this memorial will be a delightful interlude along the busy boulevard of Burnside. Or not. With Adam's destructive couplet, and the loss of yet another fine reminder of times more aesthetically attuned, Portland continues to decline into a mire of ugliness and annonymity. A city lobotomized.

Think of Paris. Fontaine Saint-Michel, Place Saint-Michel is in my mind the model for the Campbell Memorial. Cret would certainly know this famous monument. Is it a streach to think that he had it in mind when he designed his modest ornament?

It is distressing that in Portland, great works of art and architecture, (this and the Memorial Coliseum) erected in the name of those who have lost thier lives in public service, can be so little valued.


If it's not completely restored in the same location, perhaps the whole thing can be incorporated into the new memorial. If the weather's such a big deal and it can't hold up with proper maintenance, perhaps it could be incorporated as a focal point in a winter garden setting. It'd be a shame to take a couple pieces and rip the rest down.

Laurence Qamar

The Campbell memorial should be restored in its current location and current design as a way to honor David Campbell as well as Paul Cret.

I've noticed this small Beaux Arts memorial over the years, turning my head every time as I pass by. The beautifully designed and crafted stone wall and bench enclosure, surrounded by multiple lanes of traffic, and varied buildings, is sort of "an ice cube in hell". Its disrepair does not deem it unworthy of preservation. In fact it's perhaps the most visually pleasing civic element in the neighborhood. Instead I would rather see a couple of other elements removed from around it.

Perhaps the reason it looks forlorn is due to its isolation on an island within multiple lanes of traffic. I would propose the City engage in a roadway redesign in which the adjacent lanes of SW 18th and 19th become "shared space". Redesign the roadways between the two adjacent buildings as a plaza or "woonerf", replacing the curbs with bollards, and making a continuous paver surface form building face to building face, thus better connecting the memorial on the park island to the adjacent sidewalks. While doing this, I bet the street pattern and other triangle between Alder and Burnside could be improved as well. It would be a perfect demonstration project for the City's current rainwater infiltration and shared street space programs.

In other words, they should expand the presence of the David Campbell Memorial in it's current location.

Mike G

I wonder if it is beyond repair in the same way Memorial Coliseum has fallen into disuse.

Who decides this stuff? Really?

I wonder how much a study to find out how much a restoration would cost would run. Then a potential friends group could have a fund-raising goal.

I also wonder what could be done bureaucratically. Putting commemorative structures on the National Register is generally a no-no unless they are historic and important in some other way. I would say it is certainly eligible for its association with Paul Cret and as an example of a Beaux-Arts park structure.

Anyone up for that.

This whole situation is ridiculous.


Thanks for the post Brian! I was wondering when people were going to notice that this little urban gem was threatened. There is already a Facebook group (Save Portland's Firefighters Memorial) with over 160 people in support of saving this space. Together we can overcome!


Quite a number of people commenting here about the memorials location don't seem to feel the nearby traffic is that objectionable. I guess that's o.k. . It's only Burnside's traffic I take issue with. The streets and their traffic to either side of the memorial seem fine to me; it's slower than Burnsides', and there's less of it. I wish Burnside's traffic were a little more like that, but I'm not convinced that the 'soak the feds' couplet redesign for Burnside is going to accomplish that.

The memorials placement on that rising grade is one of the things that makes it more interesting than it might otherwise be on a flat piece of ground.

I'm not at all keen about the design of the bell structure on the island with the memorial. I haven't actually walked there in awhile, so, I'd sort of forgotten about it and didn't quite pick out the bell within in as I looked at the picture above; thought it looked out of place and was some Trimet related structure, etc.

At the least, the structure could benefit from a roof that was more complimentary to the nearby memorial. Does the bell or its support actually need a roof to protect it? The bell in the open air, with some regular cleaning and polishing, might be a whole lot more pleasing.

Doug Klotz

I'm in favor of keeping the original (1927) memorial where it is and restoring it (if it even needs any restoring). I agree with Laurence Qamar that the memorial could be enlarged by taming the two adjacent streets, or even just narrowing the streets and widening the park. The bell was placed there in 1964, and to me, destroys the symmetry of the space anyway, so that could be moved.

I seem to remember in the planning process for Waterfront Park several years ago, it was definite that there should be no new memorials in the Park, and that it had too many already, taking away space that was needed for more active uses. How do we now get a proposal to put a Firefighter's Memorial there?

Doug Klotz

Let City Council know if you want the David Campbell fountain saved. They have only heard from a few people. As Rick Potestio said, this is one of the only uplifting structures along Burnside. It needs to be there, and the street improved to meet its high standard of urban design.


Did not know we have a Paul Cret ,
cool , lets restore it , and as many have said , tame those streets!
Now with folks living in cars , and schoolkids with no food , who would propose spending on a new memorial.

Steve L.

The destruction of this historic memorial was a "given," in the PSU exclusive competition for the new fire fighters memorial. Maybe a new competition is called for, where the requirement to incorporate historic elements from the historic Campbell Memorial is lifted and the competition is open to all.


The PSU competition seems rather academic to not be a public process as one would expect. The eastside memorial could be a great addition. Finalize the competition - fundraise and build it, but as others have said it seems unreasonable to expect the public to pay for it with taxes of any sort given the current state of affairs with our school system and our individual recessions. The monument on Burnside is an asset to the city - it fits that small awkward space left where the grids of the city collide. We should have more events like this on Burnside. They play in part with the few small, yet quintessential flatiron buildings as well. These pockets or nodes also play an important role in actually affecting traffic, by creating spatial rhythm. Burnside needs more of these rather than ill timed traffic signals, or that ridiculous couplet. We have so little historic fabric in our built environment it would be a shame if this small token was destroyed in the process of creating something anew – monuments, sculptures, art, and space add to the quaintness of the urban environment, giving opportunities for people to discover these treasures as they explore the city.


1939 picture of this intersection can be found here (W.Burnside&19th looking South): http://efiles.ci.portland.or.us/webdrawer/rec/2769636/view/

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