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Honoring Portland firefighters...

Liana Shewey/Portland State Vanguard

In the early morning of June 26, 1911, a fire alarm sounded. An oil pump threw a spark that ignited the Union Oil distributing plant on Southeast Salmon Street and Water Avenue. Engine companies from around the city arrived at the scene where Fire Chief David Campbell would battle his last fire. As the conflagration raged, Campbell rushed into the building to save his crew, but the structure collapsed.

A memorial to Campbell’s service is currently located at the corner of Northwest 18th Avenue and Burnside Street, but a new memorial was recently designed through a competition, organized in part by Portland State’s Department of Architecture, to honor the 36 Portland firefighters who have died in the line of duty since 1881.

Jeff Schnabel, associate professor of architecture, coordinated the competition in partnership with Portland Fire and Rescue and the David Campbell Memorial Association. Read more...


Whelton Architecture wins Portland Firefighters Memorial Competition

Portland Fire and Rescue in partnership with Portland State University’s School of Architecture today announced the winner of a competition to design the Portland Firefighters Memorial. After an eight month, two-stage competition with input from firefighters and the general public, the selection committee members unanimously selected the design by Aaron Whelton / Whelton Architecture as the competition winner.

The Portland Firefighters Memorial will be located on the east bank of the Willamette River adjacent to Fire Station no. 21 and directly across from downtown Portland. Whelton Architecture’s design establishes two discernable experiential zones: at the ground level, low horizontal stone benches and walls are rooted into the earth; and in the sky, tall vertical lanterns gently sway overhead. These elements are organized across the memorial field in a series of parallel lines whose overall figure is greater than any one individual mark.

More images and architect’s description after the break.


Beacons for the Brave (Portland to honor fallen firefighters with new memorial)

A new memorial for Portland's fallen firefighters has an open 
design, creating a space for contemplation. Courtesy Whelton Architecture

June 26, 2011 will mark 100 years to the day when Portland Fire Chief David Campbell perished while battling the infamous Union Oil Fire. It will also be the day, if everything is on schedule, for the inauguration of a memorial to Campbell and the 35 other Portland fire fighters who have died in the line of duty. The memorial, which will overlook the Willamette River at the eastern end of the Hawthorne Bridge, was designed by local firm Whelton Architecture.

The firm’s design consists of 36 tall, thin metal lanterns arranged in parallel lines. One for each of the firefighters who have died protecting the city since 1881. Principal Aaron Whelton said he steered away from contemplative elements like water or stone, focusing instead on interactivity. Read more...


Winning Portland firefighter memorial design would cost about $2.4 million

A proposed new memorial to Portland's fallen firefighters could become a stirring addition to the city's waterfront, but it comes with a big question mark: Can backers meet the roughly $2.4 million price tag?

A selection committee announced the winner of a memorial design competition Monday: Portland architect Aaron Whelton, who beat out six others.

His plan for a swath of land at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge calls for 36 light poles representing each of the city's fallen firefighters and pole heights reflecting their length of service. It also would include a wall bearing the firefighters' names and a water feature.

City Commissioners Randy Leonard and Nick Fish and firefighter Paul Corah unanimously picked the design. "We like the idea of honoring the firefighters in lighted modes," Corah said. "It was just kind of a nice courtyard effect."


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The new memorial would become the focal point for annual ceremonies honoring Portland's firefighters -- instead of the current memorial along Burnside. Read more...


Firefighter memorial envisioned along river


- In this design, fallen firefighters are represented by poles supporting lanterns. Walls beneath each pole vary in length, denoting the time the firefighter spent in the bureau.

If residents' generosity meets expectations, Portland could have a handsome new riverside remembrance of its fallen firefighters by summer 2011.

Tucked by the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge, the monument will give people a scenic setting to reflect on the lives and service of dozens of men who have died in the line of duty, advocates say.

But not everyone is happy to see the city's existing memorial abandoned to memory.

A small online group is rallying to save the old memorial -- the anchor of an unassuming wedge of parkland near West Burnside Street and 19th Avenue for more than 80 years. Read more...

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Memorial Vision

The Campbell Memorial is currently located at the corner of NW 18th and Burnside and is maintained by the David Campbell Memorial Association. Constructed in 1928, the memorial is named after Fire Chief David Campbel Read more...

Portland Potpourri: Art, Fountains, and Old Friends

Chapter “Firemen’s Memorial”

By Eugene Snyder