Some parts of the Portland Parks & Rec. web site are great. Why rewrite history? Here is a longish section from their site…

In the main circle of the park is what is simply referred to as the Washington Park fountain, although some call it the Chiming Fountain.

Water drips chime-like from one bronze pan to another, and gargoyles around the base spout water.

Commissioned by the city for $400 in 1891, the cast iron fountain was created by Hans Staehli, a Swiss woodcarver and artist, who designed it after a Renaissance fountain. Originally the fountain was painted white and was topped by a cast iron figure of a boy holding a staff from which water spouted.

At some point over the years, the figure disappeared. The last known record of it was in 1912 when McElroy’s band was photographed in concert nearby.

In 1960, the fountain was in such disrepair that the city was ready to scrap it. Local longshoreman Francis J. Murnane, whose avocation was the preservation of historic buildings and objects, appealed to Mayor Terry Schrunk and the park bureau was authorized to begin restoration.

Much of the original decoration had disappeared so replicas were created from existing pieces for $450. With the additional costs of reassembly and installation, the total came to a little over $1,772 – considered a good investment in art circles!

Enough!

1. The fountain looks today as if no one has tended to it since 1960. Rust, cracks, shifting concrete. It’s a mess. A quick sand-blasting, a new cast concrete pool and a coat of paint might save it.

2. There are no rabble-rousing art-loving longshoremen left. Perhaps an enterprising history-loving hippie might take on the powers that be. Anyone out there to love a cast iron faux Renaissance fountain?

3. And those powers would be? City Councilman Dan Saltzman at dsaltzman@ci.portland.or.us, and Parks Director Zari Santner at Pkzari@ci.portland.or.us.

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