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Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)

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Portland Parks & Recreation’s Charles Jordan Community Center Hosts Health Fair, Book Release

(Portland, OR)

Portland Parks & Recreation’s Charles Jordan Community Center (CJCC) is proud to host the third annual New Columbia Community Health Fair on Saturday, April 5, from 12pm-3pm.

The community fair will feature FREE health screenings and information, children’s activities, food samples, and amazing raffle prizes including a bicycle!  We will also have a wonderful chance to learn about the legacy of the community center’s namesake, former City Commissioner and PP&R Director Charles Jordan.  Jordan’s new book More than Just Fun and Games will be available for purchase, and visitors can meet and talk with Charles’ son, Portland Parks Board member and noted community speaker and advocate Dion Jordan.

Unfortunately, Charles Jordan’s health will prevent him from attending the book release event personally. Proceeds from the sale of More than Just Fun and Games will go directly towards Charles Jordan Community Center.

WHAT: Community Health Fair and Book Release
Please join us for a joyful, social event featuring health awareness and activities for the whole family.

WHEN:  Saturday, April 5, 12pm-3pm

WHERE: Charles Jordan Community Center, 9009 N. Foss Ave

WHO: Free and open to all friends and neighbors

“The Jordan family has long been committed to health, families, recreation, and the environment,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “Charles Jordan improved our quality of life in Portland for current and future generations. We are honored to welcome Dion Jordan to our health fair and book release on behalf of his father.”

Just a few hallmarks of Jordan’s tenure include popular PP&R programs such as the free annual series of Movies in the Park, plus innumerable youth initiatives. Jordan gained public support for two large bond measures and a parks levy. Charles Jordan’s leadership, commitment to Portland, and innovative policies are anchors of Portland Parks & Recreation’s mission and philosophy now and going forward.

“I draw great inspiration from this amazing man,” says PP&R Director Mike Abbaté. “I am humbled to follow in his footsteps.” 

About Charles JordanCharles Jordan
Charles Jordan is a former Portland City Commissioner, and former Director of Portland Parks & Recreation whose leadership over more than three decades will be felt indefinitely. In June, 2012, the Portland City Council voted unanimously to rename Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)’s University Park Community Center in honor of Charles Jordan.

“There never has, and there never will be, someone more deserving of this honor,” said Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish. “He was the person who took Portland Parks & Recreation to the next level. Charles Jordan is a champion for the environment and conservation nationwide. His commitment to children, families, and to building community is extraordinary.”

The renamed Charles Jordan Community Center – a building made possible by his efforts – was dedicated on Sunday, July 22, 2012 with a free public celebration.

After spending his early life in rural Texas, Jordan served as an officer in the U.S. Army. He received his B.S. from Gonzaga University in Education, Sociology, and Philosophy. In 2001, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Law degree by the University of Vermont.

Jordan spent 10 years as Portland’s first African-American City Commissioner beginning in 1974. He served 14 years as Director of Portland Parks & Recreation and retired in 2003. Jordan literally changed Portland’s landscape by overseeing 44 new parks and natural areas during his tenure.
Jordan was the force behind Portland landmarks such as Pioneer Courthouse Square, the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, Delta Park, Southwest Community Center, renovations to Tom McCall Waterfront Park and Matt Dishman Community Center, and many more public projects and successes. 

As City Commissioner, Charles Jordan was noted for his innovative and unconventional approaches to problem solving. He developed the Community Juvenile Officer Program that put Portland Police officers in local schools to engage youth through positive interaction and activities. As Fire Commissioner, he developed an outreach training program to recruit people of color to the Fire Bureau. 

On the national stage, Charles Jordan broadened the agenda of the environmental movement and land conservation to make it more inclusive. He is known for his groundbreaking approach to putting people – particularly people of color – at the heart of the American Conservation Movement.

“His great saying was ‘Parks are more than just fun and games,’” says Michelle Harper, who worked with Jordan for years in several capacities. “He is a spiritual person with a strong connection to his church, and he saw us all as being connected. Portland’s parks were where we could come together to build community and family.”

Notable Charles Jordan quotes

“What people don’t understand, they won’t value; what they don’t value, they won’t protect; and what they don’t protect, they will lose.”

“Today you follow, but tomorrow you will be expected to lead.”

“If change is to be, it’s up to you and me.”

“Dreams are simply goals with wings.”

“Model the way – you never know who is watching and wanting to be just like you.”