The Plaza Blocks: Chapman & Lownsdale Squares

Chapman and Lownsdale squares occupy two city blocks just east of the Multnomah County Courthouse and the Portland Building. Historically, Chapman Square, with its all-female grove of gingko trees, was designated for women and children, while Lownsdale Square was for the men. The squares were originally mirror images of each other, with restrooms on either side. Over time, a seemingly-random collection of monuments has been added to the parks, but for the most part the parks remain identical. 

For just over a month in 2011, the squares were home to Occupy Portland. For several months after the protesters were removed from the site, the plazas were closed to repair damages to the lawn area, plantings, and other site furnishings. Now open again, every bench and sunny spot on the lawn is occupied during the lunch hour in summer months. The plazas are an oasis in the middle of downtown and create the sense you are part of a broader urban community.

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