Pioneer Courthouse Square is getting a face-lift

Even the Umbrella Man will get spruced up this year

KOIN 6 News Staff - PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- Portland's living room will be getting a pretty significant face lift this year thanks to a Portland Parks and Recreation bond.

Pioneer Courthouse Square is one of the most visited public spaces in Oregon. The 40,006 square foot park is home to food carts and public events that draw Portlanders to the heart of the city every day.

"We will fix a leaking roof, modernize old restrooms and refresh the signature bricks. After completion, the Square will re-open to the 11 million people who visit and use it each year," Pioneer Courthouse Square President Dan Lavey said.

The project will include replacing the waterproof membrane under the bricks on the upper tier of the square, which is leaking. The material was meant to last 20 years, and has been there for 30, according to Parks and Recreation Director Mike Abbaté.

The renovation will mean many of the personalized bricks will be impacted, but those, along with damaged or deteriorated bricks, will be replaced with their original inscriptions.

"I am excited that we are preserving the original design and feel of this world-famous public space," Abbaté said in a press release.

Lavey also encouraged people to "become a piece of history and purchase a brick." 

Other projects include repairing the terra cotta columns, renovating the bathrooms to make them all-user, and improving the HVAC system.

The famous Umbrella Man statue will also be getting restored. Portland Parks and Rec spokesman Mark Ross said the 460 pound bronze sculpture, officially named "Allow Me" will get a spa treatment from the Regional Arts and Culture Council. The sculpture will be away from the square for 6 months while art caretakers clean the surface, refresh the paint and give it a protective finish.

Construction will start on Monday and is expected to be done by the end of July 2017. Businesses in the square will remain open during construction, but the public restrooms will be closed. Events will still be held in areas that aren't being worked on.

The projected is funded through the Parks Replacement Bond, which was approved by more than 70% of Portland voters in 2014.

"Together, Portland Parks & Recreation and Pioneer Courthouse Square, Inc. are working to make sure this unique public asset serves the next generation of Portlanders," Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz said in a press release. "Portland voters have my and the City's continued gratitude as we work to address the most critical needs across our Parks system."

There will be a public celebration of the renovation on February 6 at 12 p.m.


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