Portland’s Park Blocks are some of the oldest parks in the city; they were platted for public use in the late 1840s by Daniel H. Lownsdale and William Williams Chapman. While their original concept to create 25 contiguous public blocks for parks, schools or public markets extending north to south was not fully realized, the existing 18 blocks remain a defining element of our city. As the city developed around them, each block took on its own unique character.
The 19th block, Director Park, has been a decade in the making. It was made possible through generous donations from the Thomas P. Moyer family and Jordan Director Schnitzer in partnership with the Portland Parks Foundation, as well as funding from the City of Portland and the Portland Development Commission's South Park Blocks Urban Renewal Area.
"My grandparents, Simon and Helen Director, were part of a generation of immigrants whose hard work helped build this city. Simon Director (1891-1981) was born in the small Russian village of Chartoriysk. He arrived in Portland in 1910 and began work as a butcher. Helen Holtzman (1900-1976) was born in Warsaw, Poland. She arrived in Portland in 1915 and that same year met and married my grandfather. They had three daughters, June, Ruth, and Arlene.
Simon and Helen Director served their community with distinction, paving the way for their children and grandchildren and for generations to come. This park honors their memory and that of their generation in the hope that those who follow will continue their efforts to make Portland the wonderful city that we call home." ~ Jordan Director Schnitzer