Celebrate the Pop-Up Plaza

For the entire month of May, the section of S.W. Montgomery St. between 6th Ave. and Broadway will be transformed into a pedestrian-only plaza with art displays, community events, food and more.

Called the Montgomery Street Pop-Up Plaza, it’s an experiment to evaluate the block’s potential as an inclusive and welcoming public space in the heart of campus. It’s temporary for the time being. But if it’s a big success, it may become a permanent fixture in the future.

The pilot project had its start with the 2009 Montgomery Green Street Plan, a concept formed by the City of Portland, Portland State and other entities to create a vibrant walkable corridor connecting the West Hills with the Willamette River. The overarching plan was never fully implemented, but the Pop-Up Plaza is a way to test its feasibility — at least on this one-block section.

“With the adjacent Urban Plaza and Park Blocks, turning this particular block of S.W. Montgomery into a public space for students will really help establish PSU’s heart of campus, better defining the school’s identity in downtown Portland,” says Julia Michel of the Campus Planning Office, who is working with Clint Culpepper of Transportation & Parking Services to make the plaza a reality. 

Urban Studies and Planning faculty Ellen Shoshkes and her students are helping program events, which will include a student art fair, opera and laptop recitals, events focused on creative recycling and more.

Project organizers are looking for volunteers to help on Wednesday, May 1, with a Pride Month-themed street painting that will span the entire length of the block. Sign up here to volunteer.

Check out the events, submit event ideas of your own or sign up to volunteer your time to make the Pop-Up Plaza a success by visiting the project’s website.

Story by John Kirkland

Above: An artist's rendering of the Montgomery St. Pop-Up Plaza