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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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Pedestrian Wayfinding Sponsorship

The Pedestrian Wayfinding Signage System is a pedestrian-oriented informational and directional signage program in Portland’s Central City. The system includes 102 signs located within the I-405 loop and across the river in the Lloyd District. Portland Development Commission (PDC) and Portland Office of Transportation (PDOT) worked together to develop and install the wayfinding signage system.
Goals of the Pedestrian Wayfinding Signage System:
  • Communicate clear and concise functional wayfinding information
  • Enhance pedestrian circulation and sense of place
  • Direct visitors and residents to central Portland destinations
  • Increase comfort of visitors and residents unfamiliar with downtown Portland
  • Prolong visitor and resident stays
  • Strengthen Central City destination retail
  • Orient visitors to sites on both sides of the Willamette River
  • Enhance the identity of Portland
The signs are self standing pylon signs which are placed within the furnishing zone of the sidewalk right of way. The pylon is made of aluminum with a color print covered with a layer of weatherproof coating. There are two faces to each sign; one face has a system map and the second face has a district map with specifically indicated destinations. The Central City has been divided into five distinct districts for easy orientation: Downtown, Pearl, Old Town/Chinatown, Lloyd, and the University District.
PDOT has a sponsorship program to cover maintenance costs. Sign Sponsors will have their name added to the sign(s) they sponsor. To learn more about becoming a sponsor, read the brochure below. The map below displays signs still available for sponsorship.
All but the twleve signs along the 5th and 6th Avenue Transit Mall have been installed. The signs on the Transit Mall will be installed when construction of the Transit Mall Revitalization project is complete in the 2009.
Project Background
The project grew from recommendations included in the 2001 Lloyd District Development Strategy and 2002 Downtown Retail Strategy. In May 2003, the Portland Development Commission (PDC) and Portland Office of Transportation (PDOT) began working together to develop a pedestrian wayfinding signage system in Portland’s Central City.
The project was developed with the help of Joel Katz Design Associates (JKDA), hired by PDC through a competitive selection process. JKDA is responsible for the successful Walk!Philadelphia pedestrian signage system in downtown Philadelphia. Local consultants Nevue/Ngan Associates and Cogan Owens Cogan assisted with design and public involvement components.
Following an RFP process, Sea Reach, a Sheridan, OR based company, was selected for sign fabrication and installation. PDOT managed the fabrication and installation of the signs along with the contractor.
Destinations were selected with the input of a Project Advisory Committee chaired by Jeff Blosser, manager of the Oregon Convention Center, a Technical Advisory Committee, and other stakeholders. Destinations were chosen according to a variety of criteria, including visitor and usage counts, regional or landmark visibility and awareness, location within the project area, and hours of operation. With three exceptions, there are no retail or commercial destinations. The exceptions—Lloyd Mall, Pioneer Place malls, and Powell’s—are all large retail agglomerations or establishments that attract very high traffic counts. Mass transit, including the streetcar, MAX lines, and Transit Mall are included in the maps and as distinct directional items.
Project Funding
Design and installation was funded through the River District, Downtown Waterfront, South Park Blocks and OCC Urban Renewal Areas. Maintenance costs are expected to be covered through a dedicated sponsorship program. The Portland Office of Transportation (PDOT) controls the sponsorship program.
For additional information on the Pedestrian Wayfinding Signage System's Sponsorship Program, please contact:
Stuart Gwin
Bureau of Transportation
1120 SW 5th Avenue, Suite 800
Portland, OR 97204
- Or -
April Bertelsen
Bureau of Transportation
1120 SW 5th Avenue, Suite 800
Portland, OR 97204
To learn more about this program, please refer to the links below:

Sign Location Map

Map identifying location and numbers of signs

Wayfinding Sign Locations

Physical location of the one hundred and two pedestrian wayfinding signs.

Project Area Map

Area map of the central city identifying the five different areas of the project.

Sign Example 2

Example of the two faces of the sign, directionally oriented, both South and North

Sign Example 1

Six and a half-foot, double-sided aluminum signs.

Sign example

Pylon dimensions, sign background, example of directional panel and map.