Olmsted 200 Symposium: John Charles Olmsted’s Portland Legacy

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, a visionary landscape architect and fervent advocate for public parks.

In celebration of Olmsted 200, three of Portland’s most esteemed parks and green space advocates will discuss John Charles Olmsted’s 1903 Portland parks plan and it’s continuing legacy for dedicated green spaces in Portland.

Hosted by The Portland Garden Club, Portland Parks and Recreation, Friends of Terwilliger Parkway, Friends of Peninsula Park, and Friends of Columbia Park, the program is open to the public and available on Zoom and will take place at the historic Peninsula Park Community Center on April 26, at 12:30pm.
The Zoom link will be posted on the Portland Garden Club website the morning of April 26.

William Hawkins III, John Charles Olmsted’s visits to Portland
Mike Houck, John Charles Olmsted and Portland’s Natural Landscapes
Jim Sjulin, The Evolution of the 40-Mile Loop.

John Charles Olmsted, head of the premier landscape design firm in the country, was 51 years old when he was invited to Portland, Oregon to help the city design its first park plan. When Olmsted arrived in 1903, outdoor spaces designed for public use were few.

J.C. Olmsted had been carefully trained in his father’s design philosophy since childhood. In young Portland he saw the opportunity for comprehensive planning, a chance to envision and prepare designs for a city that would surely grow exponentially. His advice to the city leaders was detailed: along with 40 pages of explicit suggestions for parks and parkways were instructions on how to purchase land, how to manage parks, how to work with city governments and what mistakes to avoid.

Due to a challenging environment, few of his plans were enacted. Then, in the 1980’s, local citizens groups were energized to continue the projects outlined in the Olmsted plan – a plan that continues to inspire today.