Tag Archives: Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park

Jefferson Circle of Waterfront Park: NW Tropical Theme & the Question of Design

High summer with a wide angle distorting it a little but....

High summer with a wide angle distorting it a little but….

Jefferson Circle lies at the south end of the downtown seawall in Tom McCall Waterfront Park helping to anchor what we always referred to as ‘the bowl’, site of the Dragon Boat races, July’s Blue’s Festival and the end of Summer Oregon Symphony performance.  The curving slope of the lawn that sweeps across the site assures attendees of a more clear view of the stages erected for big events.  Jefferson Circle and ‘5 Flags to the south, permanently ‘backup’ the temporary stages, while a third display bed, Columbia Circle, marks the main entry from downtown on the west.  All three beds share a common theme though they are by no means a mirror image of each other.

These three beds were part of Waterfront’s original design from the ’70’s.  Jefferson Circle an actual circle 40’ in diameter defined, like the others by a concrete bench that surrounds it.  Columbia is an ellipse stretched along its north/south axis, while 5 Flags is an ‘organic’ form with 5 ‘corners, each defined by a flag pole that for years displayed ours and a changing assortment of three other international flags.  Their plantings have changed over the years. I take responsibility for their current theme and most of their plantings. Continue reading

Waterfront Parks: Success and a Question of Purpose


Okay, this is not Vancouver. It is Victoria Harbor, looking at their Fisherman’s Wharf across from where we stayed. I haven’t been back to Vancouver for a few years and as a result of an accident and poor back up, I lost all of those pictures. Right country, almost the same latitude, with a gorgeous natural harbor you would have to try hard to screw up!

Vancouver, B.C., has a beautiful waterfront south of downtown along False Creek merging urban development with pedestrian scale Park.  This is a busy international city, Canada’s major west coast port and a major center of the arts.  Granville Island pokes up out of the inlet housing the ‘Emily Carr University of Art and Design’ among other centers.  BC Place, the site of last summer’s Women’s World Cup Championship, resides a little more inland still close to the water.  Here the city is built  to advantage along its waterfront.  Of course on the north side is the famous and beautiful Stanley Park and a more urban edge snugging up to Vancouver Harbor, with an amazing view across it and on to the snow covered mountains including Grouse and Whistler not far to the north.  Pedestrians abound. while commercial shipping on a large scale moves in the middle distance, along with the many float planes private, tourist and small commuters.  It is around False Creek where the City has more recently redefined its relationship with the water.  It is a gorgeous setting.  All combined Vancouver’s, new and old, waterfront is my favorite along the West Coast, ahead of Seattle and San Francisco. Continue reading