Portland Fountain Tour: Farewell to Orpheus

Within the Portland State University campus you can find the sculpture and fountain titled Farewell to Orpheus.  The sculpture is cast in bronze and was created by artist Frederic Littman in 1968.  The sculpture was installed as part of the South Park Blocks urban renewal development project in 1972.

For many years the lovely fountain was not working, so Portland State University partnered with the City of Portland, the owners of the sculpture, to repair it.  Crews for PSU made the repairs and the city has pledged to maintain the fountain in working order.  After the repairs were finished and the fountain was working again, the number of people enjoying the area increased dramatically!

The fountain is not original to the sculpture.  The original sculpture did not have fountains as a feature.  Although the sculpture has always been surrounded by water, it is believed that the fountains were added sometime in the early 90’s.  The fountain continually recycles 227 gallons of water when it is operating.

Orpheus was a legendary poet, prophet, and musician in ancient Greek religion and myth.  Most of the stories about him centered on his ability to charm all living things, and even stones, with his music.  It is said that he was married to Eurydice and that the statue represents her saying goodbye to her husband Orpheus!

To learn more about Portland’s many wonderful fountains, click here

Words by Glenda, photos by Brian

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