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Sunday, May 4, 2014

PEOPLE WATCHING AT PIONEER COURTHOUSE SQUARE



Strollers at the Square

Looking rather like a Roman amphitheater, Pioneer Courthouse Square sits smack in the middle of action in downtown Portland.  I visited this area for a couple days last week when the sun was pouring down on this vibrant city park. Here I found strollers, runners, bikers, skateboarders, children, artists, and of course folks of all ages. 


Pioneer Courthouse facing Pioneer Courthouse Square

Named after the historic Pioneer Courthouse which stands in the adjacent city block -- it has gotten the official nick name as Portland's Living Room. This is a place to come and relax while in the heart of the city. Often special events are held here. For me it was the place to visit to watch folks. 


Holding a box and thinking you know where you are headed is a technique that I feel could have dire consequences. I'm sure this woman held the box up to her face as she walked past me as she did not want her photo taken. I wasn't going to take her photo but when the box went up in front of her face -- then I had to take her photo as it made me laugh.


Weaving carefully among the walkers were occasional skateboarders -- they were very considerate of others. 

 One shoulder backpack

Carrying a purse seemed to be very passe in Portland. I only viewed backpacks and computer bags. I liked the idea of backpacks as one may have a camera or computer or phone paraphernalia plus maybe a book or two to carry when out and about for the day.


Talking, walking and looking



It was a fun day to sit and watch the "flavor" of Portland pass by.


The square, about the size of a city block, is ranked as the world's fourth-best public square by Project for Public Spaces, bested only by two squares in Venice and one in Siena, Italy (wikipedia).

For more info on the Square click here.

26 comments:

  1. Ha! Great collection of people watching images. Portland has so much to offer...people watching is pretty high on the list too!

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    1. Melissa -- Portland is a fantastic people city. I could live there even though I am a country person. thanks for the comment -- barbara

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  2. People watching is a favorite past time of mine too! I have visited Portland several times when my daughter lived there. We went to the Rose Gardens and Powell's bookstore but we never went to the Pioneer Courthouse. Looks like fun.

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    1. Florence -- When it is a warm sunny day and everyone around you is in a good mood -- you begin to let any troubles fade for the time being. If you ever visit Portland again I would suggest taking in the Square. It's delightful. -- thanks -- barbara

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  3. Looks like a great day for people watching. As our world changes I can also see where purses are becoming a piece of history.

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    1. Michelle -- I think that you might be right -- purses might just fade into the background -- become collectibles. What was especially nice about the Square was the strong sense of community that surrounded it. thanks -- barbara

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  4. I enjoyed your people watching photos especially the woman who held the box in front of her. I stumbled upon the site Humans of New York a few months ago. It's kind of addictive.

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    1. Raining Iguanas -- the old Depression photographers took photos of folks on city streets. They had many ways of taking them that was sometimes rather secretive. I believe that one should be upfront about taking someones photo. If they say no I respect them and move on. Now the box lady was not really revealing her face and she didn't say no. She just put that box in front of her face. -- barbara

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  5. You capture the place and the people, distinctly Portland, I assume although I've never been to the Northwest. I have been to the other three squares you name, loved them as a tourist discovering new places. It takes someone like you with a camera and a eye to show a more familiar culture as it is. I think a public place elsewhere say NYC or Washington, DC or Houston or Chicago would have distinctive differences. Thanks.

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    1. June -- You surely are a world traveler -- having visited all the other famous city squares. I agree that regionalism would make a difference in the use and feeling of city squares. I don't know if DC's open space near the capital is considered a square? I would consider it one -- one that is fantastic. thanks -- barbara

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  6. I went there once and was a little busy, so now I should go and really enjoy the city.

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    1. Tabor -- If you do make it to Portland it is worth the time to visit the square and just stroll up and down the streets observing the folks and the architecture. -- thanks -- barbara

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  7. What a fun post! A visit to "Portlandia" (the "Vegan Mecca") is high on our Bucket List. Can't believe we haven't made it there yet! With my hemp shoulder bag that converts to a backpack, I'll blend right in. :-) And people watching is one of my favorite pastimes! Funny you'd compare the square to a Roman amphitheater, because that first group of strollers you photographed looked like they might BE from Rome! (or Milan, Florence, etc). Skateboards are a popular mode of transport around here, too, but very few of the riders are mindful, never mind considerate, of others. Yep, really need to visit Portland! :-)

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    1. Laloofah -- I find Portland a very walkable city. You and your husband are walkers so you could really enjoy the city environment. Yes, Portland, as well as most of Oregon is vegan or pure organic. When I lived in Oregon in the 1990s I was amazed at the small farms that were raising organic foods. And then of course there is the ocean if you visit! -- thanks -- barbara

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  8. Fun pictures. I love Portland and one of the main reasons is the prevalent sunshiny mood of the people. I live near Jamison Square and whenever it is warm they turn on the water and tons of kids gather to play in it while the adults sit on the grass and watch the kids and each other.

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    1. Rubye Jack -- I have not been to Jamison Square -- I imagine it is of the same flavor as Pioneer Square. I lived in Corvallis, Oregon years ago and they have a riverfront park with fountains spraying that children loved as they could enjoy a dose of water on warm days. I love community squares/parks that invite people to enjoy them in their own way.-- thanks -- barbara

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  9. A fine way to pass the time! And I LOVE the green bungalow in the previous post!

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    1. Vicki -- I could live in that green bungalow. Fun to watch folks enjoying their day. -- thanks barbara.

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  10. How times change - when I was a child my father always wore a suit and tie if he was going to town, while my mother would wear a dress, high-heels and quite possibly a hat. Even children would not be on roller skates (skateboards didn't exist as far as I know).

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    1. John -- yes style of dress has changed drastically -- here in the US too. Suits are almost extinct, the stuffy ones that is. And dresses are rather scanty. We have lots of the grungy look here. Do you have grungy in your area? I guess one might say it's freedom of expression? thanks for your comment -- barbara

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  11. Very interesting, Barbara. I loved my two visits to Portland. With all the gorgeous gardens and famous arboretums how could I not?.....:)

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    1. troutbirder -- granted there is much to see in Portland. Also, one might say there is a little bit of everything for everyone. Nice that you have made it to Portland -- I plan to make it back that way a few times more -- thanks -- barbara

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  12. No one tried to stop you. You may have captured a wanted person. Hum! But interesting.

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    1. Diane -- No one tried to stop me. I do believe that being a woman taking photos helps and the fact that I am an older woman too. Perhaps they realize what harm can I possibly do. And I would never do harm to anyone. Everyone was in a good mood and we all enjoyed the day and the photos. I sent photo copies to several after they gave me their email addresses. -- barbara

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  13. How wonderful to have a downtown space that is cozy and used by all. A friend's son is heading to Portland for college in the Fall. They've visited often so I already know he will love it. Have a fabulous Friday. Tammy

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    1. Tammy -- Perhaps he will be attending PSU which is close to Pioneer Square. I imagine he will get into the Portland culture rather quickly. Ahh to be young again. -- thanks -- have a nice week end -- barbara

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