Visitors to Portland State University are often suprised to find themselves in a green oasis in the heart of the city. The hub of the campus is built on 12 tree-lined "Park Blocks." The Park Blocks do more than provide refreshment and peace in an urban environment; they offer a meeting ground for students, an outdoor study area, and a space for everything from arts events to a farmers' market.
Portland's Park Blocks are the oldest parks in the city, having been donated for public use in 1852 by Daniel H. Lownsdale, a Portland landowner and tanner. At this time the area was little more than an unimproved roadway on the outskirts of the city center. But in 1877, the first attempts at landscaping the park began, and 104 Lombardy poplars and elms were planted under the supervision of florist and landscape designer Louis G. Pfunder.
The Portland State University campus was first developed around the Park Blocks in the 1950s, initially on the original site of Lincoln High School. The close relationship between the university and the Park Blocks was further strengthened in 1973 when a campus redesign closed off the southern tip of the South Park Blocks to traffic, creating a gracious, wooded center for university life.
Learn more about the South Park Blocks at these websites:
Location Street Address
SW Park Avenue (9th Avenue)
between SW Market & Jackson Streets
Portland OR 97205
Directions (from Google maps)