Washington Park Reservoir Improvements

Portland, OR
Multiple stakeholders offered input in the complex park renovation.

The beloved Portland Park needed a re-design to balance the public’s desire for preservation and improvement of a historic space, while guiding the design of facilities to ensure safe, secure and affordable drinking water. 

Custom Metal Rod Bench Details

Transition from Backed to Backless

Details, Large and Small, Reflect Historic Forms

Nestled in a wooded hillside overlooking downtown Portland, Washington Park is a quintessential city park in the Northwest tradition. The site of an arboretum, amphitheater and rose garden, the park also plays an important role in the city’s water system.

More than 100 years old, the Washington Park Reservoir was in need of major improvements and reconstruction. The park is home to a functioning water facility, which needed to be upgraded to a buried water tank. Working with the Portland Water Bureau, Knot principals led a team of architects and engineers through planning for major park upgrades, providing an ecological analysis and landscape architecture. The project needed to preserve the beauty of the historic structures, while deftly weaving new modern landscape features such as plazas and promenades in a seamless fashion.

An ongoing project for Knot, work continues on this complex assignment. The design includes trail planning through environmentally sensitive areas, as well as studying storm water infiltration and habitat restoration. Knot’s design for the Washington Park Reservoir project creates a beautiful coexistence between historic and modern, and demonstrates Knot’s ability to adhere to the client’s plan while factoring in community needs.

Focused on a cherished site for Portlanders, Knot principals led a deep dive into visioning and design conversations.  This two-year process gathered meaningful input from the public, a community steering committee, and the Historic Landmarks Commission — navigating the effort to add new park features while restoring historic structures.

During this process, Knot worked closely with park planners, landscape architects and engineers, as well as contractor Hoffman Construction. Working in an open and collaborative manner that incorporated all stakeholders’ needs, the team found a balance between the public’s desire for preservation of a historic space, while also guiding the design of facilities to ensure safe, secure and affordable drinking water.

*Project began while Knot Principals were working at another firm

Knot created a beautiful coexistence between historic and modern, while factoring in community needs.
Size
20 acres
Owner
Portland Water Bureau
Engineer
AECOM
“People cherish these reservoirs, here in Portland. They’re sacred ground. From day one, when they first built the park, the reservoirs were always part of the park.”

Theresa Elliot, Portland Water Bureau