SoMa EcoDistrict’s Halprin 50th Anniversary Kick-Off Event at Lovejoy Fountain
Submitted by Grant Higginson
A NWNW Small Grant allowed SoMa Ecodistrict to hold a community event on June 9th to engage neighborhood residents, employees, students, and visitors, and to raise awareness for the SoMa EcoDistrict and the Halprin Landscape Conservancy. Another objective was to strengthen ties between district stakeholders that in addition to SoMa and Halprin, included: Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association (PDNA); SAGE (South Auditorium Greenway Environs); PSU Institute for Sustainable Solutions; 200 Market Building; and many other property owners and businesses – all of these groups contributing social capital to the effort. Halprin utilized the event to initiate its efforts celebrating the 50th anniversary of the creation of the historic Portland Public Space Sequence.
The event took place at lunchtime in Lovejoy Fountain on June 9, and it’s estimated that approximately 300 PSU students, local property owners, business owners and employees, community residents, and out-of-town visitors came to the event and engaged with SoMa and Halprin in some way. This number far exceeded the goal of 150 attendees. The event showcased the ability of public spaces to bring together disparate groups of people that live, work, and study near each other. Also, the event allowed Halprin to raise awareness for their campaign to restore and steward the Portland Open Space Sequence.
This project would not have been successful without collaboration amongst partners. While SoMa was the lead organizer, the collaborative event planning process built stronger partnerships with many neighborhood stakeholders. For example, prior to the event, a group of more than a dozen community residents from SAGE worked with Portland Parks & Recreation staff to hold a cleanup day at Lovejoy Fountain. 200 Market Building made an in-kind donation of staff and materials by setting up and removing chairs for the event. PSU’s Campus Sustainability Office donated in-kind staff and equipment to sort, weigh and remove waste. PDNA provided organizing expertise and support, in-kind staff, and supplies.
The grant from Neighbors West-Northwest was critical to the success of the project. Grant funding allowed organizers to design and print high-quality outreach materials and banners – these materials can be used in the future and will continue to benefit SoMa. The grant also covered music and food, two important elements that brought many people to the event. Receiving a grant also elevated the level of excitement and therefore participation in the event by stakeholders. Given SoMa’s limited funding and overall capacity, it is unlikely this event would have occurred without the grant.
Upcoming Halprin Events this Summer!
Cultural Landscape Foundation Tours
July 23, 10:00 am – 12 noon
Lovejoy Fountain Park Concerts
July 22 & 29, 6:30 pm
Pettygrove Park Concerts
July 27, August 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, and September 7, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm