Congress Square Park seeing new life, without the help of Rockbridge Capital

There have been many forward thinking, exciting designs proposed as alternatives to Rockbridge Capital’s plan to build a bland looking events center on Congress Square Park.

Unfortunately, the City of Portland has not given any of them- as the viable (and awesome) proposals that they are- the respect they deserve.

Now look, you won’t find many people- members of the Friends of Congress Square Park included- who think the park should be left as is, it’s obvious that the space needs a face lift in order to reach its full potential as a gathering place for social interaction and leisure.

Fortunately, as I found out earlier this week, realizing that potential might not be quite as complicated as I once thought. I no longer believe that the space needs a huge structural upheaval, cool as some of the aforementioned alternative ideas may be.

With the simple additions of a top notch food truck and a bench commissioned by SPACE Gallery the park suddenly seems reinvigorated with life and activity.

The scene at Congress Square Park is vibrant and inviting on a recent Spring evening. Photo credit- Christopher Moore, Friends of Congress Square Park.

The scene at Congress Square Park is vibrant and inviting on a recent Spring evening. Photo credit- Christopher Moore, Friends of Congress Square Park.

The food truck, the Small Axe Truck, is owned by local chefs Karl Deuben and Bill Leavy and the bench is the work of artist Michael Clyde Johnson.

I asked Frank Turek, President of the Friends of Congress Square Park, for his reaction to the sudden breath of fresh air that the food truck and the bench have brought to the park:

My gut instinct told me that the simplest thing of just having a food truck in the park would bring new life to the park.”

Soon to come… Tables and chairs, more benches, events, free wifi. Stay tuned. This park is the perfect spot to hang out in downtown Portland. This summer we’re out to prove it.” 

From the looks of it, Congress Square Park is on the up and up, and all it took was a little T.L.C.

Who woulda’ thunk it?

Hungry customers begin to trickle into Congress Square Park to get some grub at the Small Axe Truck before the lunch rush hits on a recent Tuesday morning.

Hungry customers begin to trickle into Congress Square Park to get some grub at the Small Axe Truck before the lunch rush hits on a recent Tuesday morning.

The Small Axe Truck offers a variety of delicious options including Korean pork belly and chicken tikka.

The Small Axe Truck offers a variety of delicious options including Korean pork belly and chicken tikka.

A handwritten sign displays all of the Small Axe Truck's local purveyors.

A handwritten sign displays all of the Small Axe Truck’s local purveyors.

The specials and beverages board at the Small Axe Truck.

The specials and beverages board at the Small Axe Truck.

Borrowing from the popular show, Game of Thrones, the Small Axe Truck's tip cup gives customers an option... choose wisely.

Borrowing from the popular show, Game of Thrones, the Small Axe Truck’s tip cup gives customers an option… choose wisely.

Chef/owners Karl Deuben and Bill Leavy take a three second break from prepping for the day's lunch rush to smile for the camera.

Chef/owners Karl Deuben and Bill Leavy take a three second break from prepping for the day’s lunch rush to smile for the camera inside the Small Axe Truck’s kitchen.

 

 

Chris Shorr

About Chris Shorr

Chris is a lifelong Portlander who works on a lobster boat, advocates for the marginalized and downtrodden, and occasionally ruffles feathers in City Hall and Augusta.