Jamison Square


Portland offers more parks than any other city in the nation and one of the best on a warm sunny day is Jamison Square. Located in the artistic Pearl District, Jamison Square is an interactive fountain offering wonderful water fun that is safe for kids of all ages. Pack a picnic, roll up your pants, dress the kids in their bathing suits for a day of splish-splashing fun for the whole family. Once you go your kids will be begging to go back.

Jamison Square encompasses a full city block and attracts hundreds of families and children on warm days and weekends. The park's grand opening was in 2002 and the main element of park is cascading water that spills over tiered stone steps until it fills a pool, drains out; repeating the process all day long.

For anyone wondering- the fountain continuously recirculates disinfected and treated water. The result is kids have a constantly fresh supply of water to wade and play in while adults can sit on the steps and visit while watching their kids play. There is also a lawn area where you can spread out a blanket for a picnic or catch some rays and where the fountain action is all visible. The city even offers folding chairs for use while hanging out at the park.

If you don't bring lunch, there is a hot dog concession stand, a very kid friendly coffee shop as well as a few sit down restaurants on the park block.

Babies can sit and splash with mom or dad at the waters edge, or venture up to play near the steps where water comes pouring down in mini-waterfalls. Older kids take advantage of the whole space, traversing the steps and running in and out of water-filled area. Everything from beach balls to bath toys seem to make it to the park and into the water.

Colorful art tiki totems by artist Kenny Scharf adorn the sidewalk attesting to Portland's ever increasing amount of public art. Live musicians also frequent this popular spot adding some true ambience and mood to the experience. Although I am a local and my son and I come to hang out quite a bit, I always have the feeling I am on vacation when we come to Jamison Square. Something about the park, water and the live music transports me to a space of relaxation.

At night the park continues to stay busy with the dog walkers and people coming in and out of the restaurants. The fountain is turned of in the winter and during Christmas a tree is placed in the middle of the square.

About Jamison Square: The park is named in honor of the late William Jamison, whose presence was pivotal in the development of the Pearl District. He was a co-founder of the Jamison-Thomas gallery, considered one of the first galleries to open in what would become the art enclave of the city - the Pearl District. He is also credited with initiating the popular "First Thursday" showcase of galleries in the district.

Tips: Please use caution while enjoying this fountain. Like all streams and waterfalls, slippery surfaces, rapidly moving water, and pools of water require careful attention.

Getting there: To get to Jamison Square from West Portland, take US-26 East to I-405 North and take exit 2B toward Everett Street. Merge onto NW 14th Avenue. Turn right at NW Lovejoy Street. Turn right at NW 11th Avenue.. From East of Portland, take I-84 West. Take the exit onto I-5 North/US-30 West toward Seattle. Take the 302A exit (for Weidler Street) toward Rose Quarter/Broadway. Merge onto NE Victoria Avenue. Turn left at NE Broadway. Turn right at NW Lovejoy Street. Turn left at NW 11th Avenue. Jamison Square is located located between NW Kearney and Johnson and 10th and 11th Avenues.

By Alexa Meisler
For Oregon.com