People Watching Downtown

The Urban Digest wrote a fun article on Pioneer Courthouse Square. Here's a few excerpts: 

Noon in downtown Portland, and one of the quirkiest daily traditions gets underway with trumpeted fanfare and blasts of mist. During a two-minute ceremony, three metal effigies rise in succession from the steel sphere at the summit of Weather Machine, a 30-foot-tall landmark of Pioneer Courthouse Square. One of them—a great blue heron, a dragon, or the Sun (Helia)—ultimately assumes position atop the beacon, symbolically declaring the following day’s forecast.

The midday pomp and circumstance of Weather Machine is only part of the routine energy at Pioneer Courthouse Square, the heart of downtown. Gathering place for office workers, buskers, tourists, and everybody in between, the plaza isn’t called “Portland’s living room” for nothing. Ranked (by the Project for Public Spaces) among the very best public squares in the world, it sees 26,000 tread its signature bricks every day.
— The Urban Digest

An everyday focal point, Pioneer Courthouse Square also makes one of Portland’s busiest venues: More than 300 events—most of them free—go down here every year, from Festa Italiana and India Festival to the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree (a cloud-splitting Douglas-fir, of course). Certain Friday evenings in July and August, “Flicks on the Bricks” turns the place into the biggest outdoor movie theater in the city.

And there’s no shortage of spontaneous happenings, either: from performance art to passionate demonstrations. After all, the full breadth of Portland—young and old, rich and poor, bookworm and exhibitionist—goes on display at Pioneer Courthouse Square, 365 days a year.

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