Where We Live: Director Park in downtown PDX

The park was named for Russian businessman Simon Director and his wife Helen

Since opening in 2009, Director Park on the Southwest Park blocks has quickly become a well-known Portland landmark. (KOIN)
Since opening in 2009, Director Park on the Southwest Park blocks has quickly become a well-known Portland landmark. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Since opening in 2009, Director Park on the Southwest Park blocks has quickly become a well-known Portland landmark.

A multi-colored light show crowns the people-friendly plaza in the heart of the city.

Director Park attracts all sorts of people with a variety of programs. (KOIN)
Director Park attracts all sorts of people with a variety of programs. (KOIN)

“I worked on that for a number of years,” philanthropist Jordan Schnitzer told KOIN 6 News. “I think it came out brilliantly.”

The space was created as a tribute to education, community and a well-known Portland family. Its fountain serves as a tribute to teachers.

The park was named for Russian immigrant and businessman Simon Director and his wife Helen, Schnitzer’s maternal grandparents.

“It was to honor, not only my grandparents that were important to me, but everyone’s grandparents,” Schnitzer explained. “In essence, [without] ancestors… we wouldn’t have what we have today.”

The real estate heir gave the city $2 million to put towards the $10 million park. It’s just one of many gifts Schnitzer and his parents — who funded the renovation of Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall — have given to Oregon.

“I’ve been blessed with being a citizen of this community,” Schnitzer said. “How lucky I’ve been.”

From donating to hospitals, schools and supporting at-risk youth, the Schnitzer family has given millions to help change countless lives.

The late developer Tom Moyer, who built the Fox Tower, also contributed $1 million for the Director Park site. His daughter took the reigns of his company, TMT Development, which is behind Park Avenue West.

Meanwhile, Schnitzer said he has a lot of other projects he’s working on, including establishing art museums at universities across the west.

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