Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Subscribe to RSS feed

Most Recent

View Less

Portland Parks & Recreation to Honor the late Charles Jordan this Saturday


Free Community Celebration to Remember the Legacy of a Portland Legend

(Portland, OR) –

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) will hold a free, public remembrance event for the late Charles Jordan this Saturday, beginning at 2pm. The celebration of the life of a Portland icon will include brief remarks by Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Earl Blumenauer, a proclamation from Mayor Charlie Hales, remarks from City Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Nick Fish, Portland Fire and Rescue Chief Erin Janssens, stories from Jordan’s close friends and former colleagues - and the two were far from mutually exclusive - closing remarks from Bishop A.A. Wells of Emmanuel Temple, live music, and a reception.

WHAT: A celebration of the late former Portland Parks & Recreation Director and City Commissioner Charles Jordan.

WHEN: Saturday, May 31, 2pm-4pm

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

Charles Jordan died on April 4 after a long illness. Jordan’s son Dion, a Portland Parks Board member, recalled a conversation with his father from a few years ago, when Charles Jordan reflected on his life’s work.

“He said, ‘I never set out to do all this. I never set out to accompli

sh the things I've done’,” recalled Dion. “He said he only wanted to do one thing, and that was the right thing. That he wanted to treat everybody right, love everyone unconditionally, and then he felt like his life would be meaningful. And it has been.”

Jordan helped bring more than 40 new properties into the now nationally-recognized and widely admired PP&R system, including Pioneer Courthouse Square, the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade, Delta Park, East Portland Community Center (the most utilized in our system) and Southwest Community Center. He was instrumental in obtaining the funding for several large, key renovation projects through the major and much-needed 1994 Parks bond. And he secured the funding to revitalize the center that now bears his name, Charles Jordan Community Center - which serves an area of town that benefits greatly from the center’s huge variety of low-cost, high quality health and recreation offerings.

“Charles transformed us from a bureau into a family,” current PP&R Director Mike Abbaté said at the proclamation ceremony. “I’ve seen and heard the word ‘inspiring’ associated with Charles perhaps more than any other. It is more than appropriate. One of the amazing things about Charles was his ability to bring people along with him. He had deep compassion for others, especially those who had been marginalized.”

“Charles Jordan is established in history as one of the heroes of Portland,” said Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “At the recent 30th birthday celebration for Pioneer Courthouse Square, I asked for both a moment of silence and a round of applause for Charles. Both were deafening.”

“We won't soon forget what we've learned from your father, Dion,” said City Commissioner Nick Fish, a former Parks commissioner. “The best way to remember your father is to remember what he taught us. And we will.”

Other elements of the Charles Jordan remembrance event include a Native blessing from the Bow and Arrow Culture Club, a video presentation, remarks from former City Commissioner Mike Lindberg, Evan Smith, vice-president of a local conservation fund, Michelle Harper and David Judd, both formerly, of PP&R, and David Leslie, Executive Director of Ecumenical Ministries.

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.”

“Don’t let anyone steal your joy.”

“Take good care of yourself and you can care for others.”

“We’re more than just fun and games.”

“Develop a passion for something and do it well.”

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