Endangered: Portland Firefighters Memorial

According to today’s Oregonian, it looks like that little sliver of land at 18th and West Burnside might soon lose its Firefighters Memorial. This space may not seem like much, but in a sea of traffic and in the shadow of the Civic, the memorial park represents the only bit of solemnity for blocks. The memorial was reportedly designed by Portland architect E.F. Tucker and Paul Philipe Cret, a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts  and designer of several war memorials around the U.S. and in Europe. The bronze bas-relief work is attributed to Avard Fairbanks – one of the most distinguished U.S. sculptors of the 20th century. If you are interested, a

Firefighters Cleaning Memorial in 1948

local group has started a Facebook group Save Portland Firefighters Parkhas formed in hopes of raising enough support to save the memorial where it is, rather than have it relocated -  in piecemeal fashion – to the east side of the Hawthorne Bridge. Shouldn’t this memorial have already been designated a local landmark?

The Firefighters Memorial - 1935

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8 Comments

Filed under Historic Preservation

8 responses to “Endangered: Portland Firefighters Memorial

  1. Doug Klotz

    How about narrowing the streets around the existing site to give it a little more room? If the old memorial has existed all these years without much room for ceremonies, why is there a need for such change now?

  2. My understanding is that there is also a second group on Facebook – Save Portland’s Firefighters Memorial. Clearly there are a lot of people interested in preserving this little gem.

  3. Tanya March

    I would like to add it to Alphabet Historic District, just might be faster than a single nomination.

    I was at the neighborhood meeting for the Civic etc development in that area between that development and the PGE park traffic that park is to remain a pocket park. I was always surprised that the condo HOA did not try to clean up or support that park more, they might just see it as blight.

    http://historicpreservationclub.blogspot.com/2009/06/portlands-firefighters-park.html

    There is video and pictures I took of one of the ceremonies this summer (see the link). Firemen can park where they like-fire trucks can and do fit fine. I went up to the firemen working on the park and thanked them for the landscaping earlier that week. This has nothing to do with anything but that the firemen dislike how the park is treated when there are not events.
    Val or someone with status please try to talk to Parks and Rec. and set up a meeting asap.
    Bryan Aptekar
    West Service Zone Coordinator
    Portland Parks & Recreation
    2909 SW 2nd Ave.
    Portland, OR 97201
    (503) 823-6973
    Bryan.Aptekar@ci.portland.or.us

  4. Doug Klotz

    I seem to remember the wooden (?) structure with the bell was added less than 20 years ago. I assume that’s the bell they want to move to the riverfront.

  5. Tanya March

    It is worth the 5 minutes to watch this video. Nice lesson on Paul Cret designer of the Memorial at risk. I wonder if the creator would let me edit this for the cause?

  6. Doug

    Be sure to check out the excellent post on this topic from Dan Haneckow, author of Cafe Unknown:

    http://www.cafeunknown.com/2010/01/two-fountains-it-is-our-lot-those-of-us.html#links

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