Portland's Pioneer Monuments
Tour Portland's pioneer monuments. Visit downtown sites on foot, and then continue the tour via car or bicycle.
Monument to white pioneer mothers erected in Esther Short Park in 1928. After World War II, the park fell into disuse and the statue was largely forgotten. Urban renewal brought extensive renovations to the park, and this statue was moved to a more visible location.
Also known as "Joy" or "Pioneer Woman," this statue and drinking fountain was sculpted by Frederic Littman in 1956. It is an adaptation of early-20th-century public fountains and Portland's iconic "Benson Bubblers."
Feminist leaders gathered in Portland in 1905 to dedicate a statue of Sacajawea in honor of the Native American guide for the Lewis and Clark Expedition and to commemorate “the pioneer mother of Old Oregon.” The white female suffrage leaders who helped to erect this statue of the famed indigenous woman considered Alice Cooper’s statue to be a fitting memorial to the thousands of white women who had brought Anglo-American civilization to the Oregon frontier.
Originally displayed at the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition. It depicts indigenous leader Multnomah and a young brave watching the arrival of white men up the Columbia River into the Willamette Valley.
Donated to the city of Portland to mark the 150th anniversary of the Oregon Trail, this pioneer statue has engendered spirited debate in recent years as residents question whether its title implies that the acquisition of Native land was sanctioned by divine providence. Similar statues that laud the pioneering spirit of people who moved into and acquired land once controlled by Native tribes have led to similar controversy and debate in recent years, with opponents pointing to the way that the monuments celebrated white settlers who took land that had once been occupied by Native peoples. While many might believe that this interpretation of Western history is recent, the 1992 dedication of this monument was opposed. With some residents questioning the aesthetic value of the monument and others protesting against its uncontextualized depiction of a complicated and often violent and tragic history, civic leaders decided against placing the monument in the North Park blocks. The statue was placed in temporary locations for about two years before finally being installed in Chapman Square.
These two adjacent public parks were originally divided by gender — Chapman Square was intended for women and children and Lownsdale Square was for men — and were popular with public orators who drew crowds they spoke their piece. Today, these historic squares, originally acquired by the city in 1869, serve as quiet urban oases and feature prominent public art and lots of shade.
Grand bank designed by Albert E. Doyle and constructed in 1917 and expanded in 1925. Constructed of reinforced concrete and clad in terra cotta, it is the first edifice built in Portland with a steel frame. The bronze lobby doors were sculpted by Avard Fairbanks.