Bing Sheldon is the 2014 Portland First Citizen

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Bing Sheldon may not be the first name you think of in a list of Portland city leaders. But he’s shaped the city as much as anyone, including Edgar Kaiser, William Naito and Arlene Schnitzer.

Kaiser (1942), Naito (1982) and Schnitzer (1995) each were chosen for the Portland First Citizen Award. Now, so has Bing Sheldon.

Montgomery Park before and after renovations done by Bing Sheldon (Undated photos, Sera)
Montgomery Park before and after renovations done by Bing Sheldon (Undated photos, Sera)

The award was created in 1928 by the Portland Realty Board and is now considered one of the city’s most prestigious awards.

Sheldon is an architect and advocate who designed or helped to preserve City Hall, Montgomery Park, Pioneer Courthouse, the Federal Building and many more familiar landmarks in the city.

“I’ve probably been in virtually every building in this city at one point or another,” he told KOIN 6 News.

Sheldon received a Bachelor of Economics from Tufts University in 1956 and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University in 1961.

Portland City Hall before and after the renovation done by Bing Sheldon (Undated photos, Sera)
Portland City Hall before and after the renovation done by Bing Sheldon (Undated photos, Sera)

Beyond his architectural work, he’s made a difference in his work with those in need. He’s the founder of Central City Concern, an organization that helps the homeless.

“I just would talk to these guys as I would go around on the sidewalk,” he said. “People need help to break the cycle.”

His sights are now set on helping the next generation build their future through education.

Architect and visionary Bing Sheldon was named Portland First Citizen, April 23, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Architect and visionary Bing Sheldon was named Portland First Citizen, April 23, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

“I think we fund preschool education and early childhood development,” Sheldon said. “I think a good citizen is somebody who contributes back to the city.”

And Portland is the city he loves.

“I love Portland because of its ability for people to care about it and invite you into it.”

Sheldon was honored Wednesday at the 86th annual Portland First Citizen Banquet.

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