by: PHOTOS COURTESY OF PIONEER COURTHOUSE SQUARE - Pioneer Courthouse Square opened on April 6, 1984, with about 9,000 people attending (below middle). John Kerry gave a speech during the 2008 presidential campaign (above), Noon Tunes entertains spring and summer crowds (below left) and you can get your bearings under the Squares mileage sign (below right).Portland’s living room turns 30 years old on Sunday, April 6, and it’s still as popular as ever.

Thousands of people gather at Pioneer Courthouse Square every day, and more than 300 events annually fill the space between Southwest Broadway and Sixth Avenue and Yamhill and Morrison streets.

And, it all started April 6, 1984, when about 9,000 gathered at the Will Martin-designed Square’s inauguration — before light rail buzzed by it on Yamhill and Morrison, before it became such a prolific gathering spot for people of all demographics and socio-economic status.

Live in Portland, and you likely have a memory from Pioneer Courthouse Square. Whether it’s attending Festa Italiana or Noon Tunes or Sand in the City or Christmas Tree Lighting, sitting at the Starbucks, enjoying the acoustic wonderment of the amphitheater’s “Echo Chamber,” looking in at KGW’s “Studio on the Square,” admiring the “Allow Me” sculpture statue of the man offering his umbrella and tiles of historic Portland scenes and bronze chess boards and reading all the names of people on bricks who have graciously donated money.

by: PHOTOS COURTESY OF PIONEER COURTHOUSE SQUARE - Pioneer Courthouse Square, which turns 30 years old on April 6, has seen its share of activities throughout the years, way beyond people sitting there in the sunshine eating lunch.From 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 6, the Square celebrates its 30th birthday with “Singing in the Square,” a free day of events that feature Thomas Lauderdale, China Forbes and Storm Large singing “Happy Birthday” and 1,984 cupcakes distributed by Cupcake Jones.

The day wouldn’t be complete without some Portland food truck fare — from Bunk Sandwiches,

Voodoo Doughnut and Koi Fusion.

For more info, visit

After the birthday celebration, the beat goes on at Pioneer Courthouse Square. The event “One Million Strong,” scheduled for 10 a.m. April 12, will help fight colorectal cancer.

— Jason Vondersmith

Contract Publishing

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