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Portland Memory Garden Design History

Joel Grogan| Colin Roberts | Sahela Kolb | Kori Land

Portland Memory Garden


Introduction...........................................................................................4 Chapter I - History of the Site..........................................................8 Chapter II - Story of the Portland Memory Garden................14 Chapter III - Portland Memory Garden Today..........................28 Annotated Bibliography. ..................................................................42 Appendix.................................................................................................46

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Joel Grogan | Colin Roberts | Sahela Kolb | Kori Land

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Portland Memory Garden



HE Portland Memory Garden is the first and only publiclyowned garden that is specifically designed to provide respite and refuge for victims and relatives of individuals suffering from memory loss. It is a demonstration garden that was created as part of the “100 parks, 100 years” centennial celebration of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)., and was designed by a multidisciplinary team of volunteers; including landscape architects, horticultural therapy specialists, and architects. (Friends of the Portland Memory Garden, N.D.) The multidisciplinary design team worked hard to match the memory garden to community need, while developing a grassroots campaign to promote citizen involvement. The only other public memory garden built as part of the hundred parks celebration was built in Georgia and it failed soon after completion due to a lack of community support. All the other memory gardens in the U.S. are located on private property, often owned by hospitals or other health care providers. Friends of the Portland Memory Garden, was founded as a small group of volunteers and became officially incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2008 (cite friends website). This organization has served a vital role in providing and securing volunteer hours and funding that have been instrumental in the garden’s success.

including basketball courts, picnic tables, a skatepark, soccer fields, and a playground (Ed Benedict Park, 2014). The memory garden is connected to an adjacent community vegetable garden. Many of the garden’s features, including alignment of the paths, plant materials, paving materials and design, multiple seating options, and outdoor structures are designed specifically to accomodate the elderly and those with memory disorders. An adjacent community garden provides additional space for horticultural therapy activities as well as a place for people to grow their own vegetables. This document was produced by four students at the University of Oregon as part of a course in landscape history. It is based on information gleaned from a variety of web, print, and archival resources and supplemented with several site visits and inperson interviews. We would like to thank Brian Bainnson and Patty Cassidy, who have been heavily involved in the garden’s operations and both serve on the board of the Friends of the Portland Memory Garden organization for sharing their time and inspiration. We hope that this document serves to illuminate the rich and storied history of this project, and as a reference for those interested in applying principles of horticultural therapy to garden design.

The phyisical location of the garden is steeped in local and national history described in the next section. Kelly Butte, a prominent landscape feature, with a fascinating story, sits justs to the north of the memory garden. The garden is nestled within Ed Benedict Park, a 12.75 acre city park in Southeast Portland that features many other ameneities, Page 4

Joel Grogan | Colin Roberts | Sahela Kolb | Kori Land







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Context map showing the location of the Portland Memory Garden

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Chapter I S i t e H i s t o ry

Portland Memory Garden

History of the Site Kelly Butte & Vicinity, Southeast Portland


ELLY BUTTE is marked with physical traces of important local and national events. Named for an early pioneer, it has been the site of a prison labor camp, a detention hospital, the nation’s first underground bomb-proof city command center, several drive-in movie theatres. The government acquired land south of the butte in the 1940s and 1950s, as part of a plan for a controversial highway, that was defeated due to public opposition. Clinton Kelly, a methodist reverend and pioneer from Kentucky, was one of the first settlers in Southeast Portland. In 1848 he bought 40 acres of land south and west of Mt. Tabor from James B. Stephens, the founder of the city of East Portland (Grant, N.D.). His son, Plympton Kelly, established a farm on the south side of the butte that would eventually bear his family’s name (Clinton Kelly (minister), 2014). Interpretation of aerial photos suggests that agricultural land uses continued here into the 1930s. In 1906, a prison and rock quarry opened on the site, which relied exclusively on prison labor. Prisoners would crush the rocks into gravel, which was used to build the first paved roads in the area. (Cyclotram, N.D.) In the 1950s, the nation’s first bomb-proof municipal command center was built on the former quarry site. The state-of-the art center opened in 1956, and served as a model for other cities. It was designed to withstand a “near miss” from a 20 megaton nuclear bomb, and could house up to 250 people for up to two weeks. The shelter was featured in the film A Day Called X, a 1957 CBS documentary that dramatized a nuclear attack (Blackbourn, 2013). The command center was retrofitted for use as an emergency services dispatch center in 1974, and continued to be used for

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this purpose until 1994 when further modifications became costprohibitive. The Bureau of Emergency Communication financed construction of a new building elsewhere. From 1920 to 1960, a sixty-bed municipal isolation hospital existed on the southwest slope of the butte. The construction of this hospital was noted in (The Modern Hospital, 1921), and was seen as an advancement in hospital operations at the time. Isolation hospitals were used to quarantine individuals with infectious diseases. In 1968, a ten-million gallon municipal water storage tank was built on top the former hospital site. Much of the land that eventually became Ed Benedict Park, including the site of the Portland Memory Garden, was acquired by the City of Portland in order to construct a new highway through the area. The highway, known as the Mt. Hood Freeway, one of 14 new highways proposed by a 1955 report by the Oregon State Highway Department. Its proposed route ran parallel to US 26 on Powell Boulevard, and would connect central Portland to the neighboring suburb of Gresham (Jeff, 2011). The Mt. Hood Freeway project would have required the destruction of several old neighborhoods, and removed about one percent of Portland’s housing stock. Widespread opposition to the freeway in the 1960s and 1970s led to its eventual cancellation. Ed Benedict was an Oregon statesmen, landscape contractor, and community activist who was instrumental in the decision to retain the property acquired for the cancelled freeway for eventual use as a public park. When he passed away in 1988, Benedict left money to establish a trust fund to develop the park. In a 1991 naming ceremony, the park was dedicated to his memory (Ed Benedict Park, 2014).

Joel Grogan | Colin Roberts | Sahela Kolb | Kori Land

1963 aerial view of Kelly Butte from City of Portland Archives. Accessed via Wikipedia.

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Portland Memory Garden

Timeline of Selected Aerial Photographs 1937


Command Center Quarry?

Isolation Hospital

Drive-in Theatre Timber Harvest

Captions in 10 pt

Orchard & Agriculture

Future PMG Site

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Future PMG Site

Joel Grogan | Colin Roberts | Sahela Kolb | Kori Land



Emergency Dispatch Center 10,000 gal Water tank

10,000 gal Water tank

Drive-in Theatre

RV Dealership

Future PMG Site

Future PMG Site All aerial images from the University of Oregon’s aerial image library.

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Chapter II H i s t o ry o f



Portland Memory Garden

Story of the Portland Memory Garden Design Process 1997 1999

ASLA: “Project Brainchild” The American Society of Landscape Architects funded one hundred public gardens as part of the organization’s 1999 centennial celebration. Two of the 100 gardens were meant to be public memory gardens, which are gardens that are “designed to meet the special needs of those with memory disorders and to provide respite for their caregivers.” (Friends of the Portland Memory Garden, N.D.). The inclusion of this unique garden type in the centennial celebration represented what was an emerging field at the time. Oregon and Georgia were chosen to host these memory gardens; however, the memory garden in Georgia did not have as much support by its community as the Portland Memory Garden, and the garden fell into disrepair soon after construction (Cassidy, 2014). Community Involvement The Portland Memory Garden’s leading influences include Mark Epstein, ASLA Co-Chair, 1999-2002; Jack Carmen, founder of Design Generations, LLC and therapeutic and Alzheimer’s garden design specialist; and Eunice Noell-Waggoner, expert on designing for universal access, Alzheimer’s, and dementia patients. Epstein, who was heading the project and had some experience with therapeutic design, brought Brian Bainnson, landscape architect and founder of Quatrefoil, Inc., on board for his experience with community involvement. Project partners, Oregon-Greater Idaho Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, American Society of Landscape Architects, Center of Design for an Aging Society, Portland State University/School of Urban Studies & Planning, Legacy Health Systems, and Portland Parks & Recreation, were committed to gaining approval and support from the community surrounding the park site to ensure the success of the garden.

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The garden’s design process not only brought the Lents Neighborhood community members together through the public involvement process, but also created a pro-bono design team. This team worked collaboratively across disciplines, and included at least twelve landscape architecture firms, an architecture firm, and an engineering firm. ASLA Approval Before a specific site in Portland was chosen, the design team was asked to present preliminary design schemes to the ASLA that adhered to their project design requirements. These plans included therapeutic design principals intended to meet the needs of people with memory disorders and the elderly members of the community. This design proposal was accompanied by other plans responding to ASLA project requirements. Finding a Site: Public Involvement Once the ASLA approved the initial designs, Bainnson and the design committee responded to the City of Portland’s concerns

Initial Memory Garden Design presented to the ASLA

Joel Grogan | Colin Roberts | Sahela Kolb | Kori Land

Initial Memory Garden Designs presented to the ASLA

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Portland Memory Garden

2000 2001

regarding community support by holding a neighborhood competition to find a the best location for the garden. The competition outlined eligibility criteria such as: proximity to elderly care facilities, amount of public open space, accessibility, shade, and access to existing public transportation. The competition finalists were the Lents Neighborhood and the East-Meridian Neighborhood. The design committee wanted to benefit an area that couldn’t otherwise afford it, and selected the Lents Neighborhood because it felt this neighborhood was in greater need of an urban revitalization project. Eventually, the Portland Memory Garden in Lents would inspire the EastMeridian Neighborhood to fund a garden of its own.

only wanted trees and shrubs in the garden, but was eventually persuaded to allow some perennial plants. An exception to PP&R’s plant requirements was made after design team and community volunteers demonstrated their ability to tackle the additional maintenance through consistent efforts of maintaining the perennial plants that had been integrated into the garden.

Site Location Finalized Once the site location was finalized, a series of community design workshops were held to solicit input on the needs of the local community, including the elderly, individuals with memory disorders, and their caretakers and families. Horticultural therapist Theresa Hazen, Oregon’s longest registered horticultural therapist, helped the design team identify special needs of elderly and those with memory disabilities and suggested how they be addressed in the garden’s design.

Once Bainnson gained neighborhood and City approval on the final set of plans and a project budget, he and the design team could begin soliciting grant funding to complete the project. One of the more challenging requirements for the garden was that it would be designed to last fifty years.

Portland Parks & Recreation Requirements The design team also needed to respond to Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) requirements that often limited or conflicted with the horticultural therapeutic design. PP&R is responsible for the maintenance of park restrooms, irrigation systems, lawns, large trees and emergency response, such as clean-up after a large storm. PP&R is not responsible for the care and upkeep for perennial plants and discourages them in public designs because they require too much upkeep. For this reason, PP&R Page 16

Before the garden could be developed, Portland required the adjacent gravel streets of the garden site to be paved for greater access for visitors and park maintenance crew members. This street renovation required raising an additional $15,000 above the estimated budget.

Street Renovation Bordering the Garden

Joel Grogan | Colin Roberts | Sahela Kolb | Kori Land

Garden Development 2001 2002

2003 Present

Garden Dedication About two years after hatching the initial idea for a memory garden, Bainnson and team got the official ok to begin construction at the site. The project committee, horticultural therapy students, local design and construction firms, and community volunteers worked tirelessly to put the garden together. After one and a half years of work, the garden was dedicated in May of 2002.

intensifies seasonal changes in the garden’s character, which is even more variable from year to year depending on the types of plants that are donated or available.

Updates and Changes It took another year for restroom facilities and other fixtures to be completed. At the same time, garden aspects were updated and changed. Bainnson recalls the some problems with the gravel path surrounding the garden that required some modification, “Volunteers put in a gravel path but didn’t use the right kind of gravel so then someone came in and poured cement into the gravel and wet it down, and then it just started to break off really fast which became a hazard.” Having a variation of pathway surfaces was a key design element meant to challenge walking and give special visual cues to changes in grade or surfaces. A few of the gravel pathways were replaced by pavers for greater safety and access throughout the garden, especially to the restrooms. The Portland police department requested the garden limb up some low lying branches to discourage homeless from squatting in the garden and for sight lines into the garden from the street. 80% of the plants in the garden were, and continue to be, donated from local nurseries. Although these plants must have the desired qualities for horticultural therapy, most of these plants were not initially intended in the design. Planting of annual plants

Entrance to the Garden

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Portland Memory Garden



Friends of Portland Memory Garden Non-Profit Established Bainnson and horticultural therapist and avid volunteer for the garden, Patty Cassidy, spearheaded the establishment of the garden’s non-profit, Friends of the Portland Memory Garden, to better fundraise for the garden. So far, the group has been able to found raise $15,000-$20,000 a year. Most of this money is used to help maintain the safety and seasonal intrigue of the garden. Officers President: Patty Cassidy Board Members
 Vice President: Brian Bainnson Julie Brown Secretary: Tara Hicks Kathleen Kennedy Treasurer: Luann Cook Gary Miranda Community Garden Addition The park lot adjacent to the memory garden was designed as a community garden. The community garden began renting plots to community members in. Community members may rent plots within the community gardens’ grounds to plant any array of produce they choose to look after. The plants around the community garden are also used for horticultural therapy practices, in this way they mirror the use of the plants within the memory garden.

Garden for one of his designs. He is known for borrowing lawn mowers from the nearby neighbors to create his masterpieces and visits the same site once a week to maintain it. The idea of the labyrinth relates to stories from the Ancient world, were one would rely on their memory to find their way through the maze.

Ed Benedict Community Garden

Cassidy and Bainnson promote the community garden as an educational tool to teach people about gardening practices and specific plants that tend to appeal to the elderly. Cassidy then demonstrates these practices in her own gardening, and also leads hands-on and other educational activities to empower others to learn about and adopt these practices. 2014

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Labyrinth Mowing A local veteran known for mowing labyrinth patterns into park lawns has used the lawn on the north side of the Memory

“Living Labyrinth:” <>

Joel Grogan | Colin Roberts | Sahela Kolb | Kori Land

In this particular labyrinth, a contemporary interpretation of the labyrinth is used to promote memory exercises for visitors. The labyrinth is a single path which leads to the center and has an unambiguous route. It is not designed to be difficult to navigate. For the elderly, this relatively simple but distinct design provides

a landmark feature which helps them remember the site, which goes along with the idea of the memory garden itself. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard to say whether the labyrinth really improves recognition or memory of those who visit this place, but it really is a delight to see.

Project Budget Allocation The ASLA awarded half a million dollars to the Portland Memory Garden. However, Portland city requirements mandated the renovation of what they call a half street improvement for better access of the garden, which increased the original cost estimate to $700,000. Before ground was broken for the development of the garden, the adjacent street was developed; underground infrastructure was installed and streets were paved. These improvements alone added approximately $15,000 to the project costs. Brian and team were able to fund raise about $200,000 through grants and community input to make up the budget difference. The plants initially introduced in the garden were Portland Parks contributions and donations from private sources, which significantly decreased the project cost of plants. Today, the Friends of the Portland Memory Garden raises $15,000 to $20,000 a year, most of which is delegated to the gardenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s maintenance, including updating and replacing plants, leveling uneven surfaces for safety, and remedying vandalism.

Plants & Signage,

30% $ 700,000

Hardscape: Walls and Paving,

50% Underground Infrastructure,


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Portland Memory Garden

The Garden Today Operations Present

Aside from Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) maintenance crews, who provide basic services such as cleaning the restrooms and large tree maintenance, the garden has no paid maintenance staff. It is entirely run by community volunteers and horticultural therapy students, many of whom were involved in the gardenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s initial design and construction,

Aside from working with plants, volunteers tend to other garden features in order to maintain the safety of the garden. Paying close attention to the pavers and ground covers is of high importance to prevent potential falls of visitors. Regular power washing of the concrete paths and pavers keeps clear visual

The Friends of the Portland Memory Garden organizes a garden maintenance volunteer session every first and third Saturday of the month. Often, local high school students work at the garden to the meet hourly community services requirements from their schools. Some volunteer sessions are also attended by community members who are curious about the garden. Cassidy feels getting a wide range of community members involved in the garden, even if they do not participate regularly, helps build community support and awareness. Within the restroom building is a tool and maintenance shed that holds all kinds of equipment volunteers can use in the garden. Some more seasoned gardeners bring their own tools to the volunteer sessions. Cassidy describes how diligently all the volunteers work to help keep the garden a therapeutic sanctuary.


Volunteers plant, update and replace over 400 plants every year. The plants come from a variety of sources: local nurseries donate most of the plants, PP&R provides surplus plants from other parks projects, and some plants are bought at a discount from wholesale nurseries, using funds from the Friends of the Portland Memory Garden non-profit. Community Involvement

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Joel Grogan | Colin Roberts | Sahela Kolb | Kori Land

designation of the walkways. From time to time, volunteers must re-set the pavers to maintain an even surface for visitors. The Friends of the Portland Memory Garden markets the garden and its events primarily to the elderly community in the area. The non-profit provides a current list of volunteer opportunities and other events on its website. Since the elderly community seems less comfortable with web resources, Friends of the Portland Memory Garden also provides printed documents such as newsletters and pamphlets which are sent to elderly community members via snail mail. Advertisements in the newspaper and phone calls are also employed to help spread awareness of the garden. During Portland Parkways, a community street fair that sets up along the Ed Benedict Park, over 200 visitors come to the garden in one day.

Did you know?


The Portland Memory Garden


at SE Powell Blvd. and SE 104th Avenue • Was designed specifically for those with memory disorders and their caregivers • Is one of only two such “memory gardens” in the U.S. built on public land • Is part of the Portland Parks and Recreation system • Offers free horticultural therapy sessions to senior communities

Summer Program 2014

• Offers a bounty of plants and flowers that provide four seasons of interest • Hosts a free Summer Open House each July that is open to the public

FREE Senior Activities in the Portland Memory Garden

• Is open from dawn to dusk 365 days a year

July 7th through August 29th Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays

• Is free to all users

• Has a picnic table that is wheelchair accessible • Has free, accessible, and ample parking for vans, buses, and cars • Has an ADA-approve restroom and drinking water fountains • Provides opportunity to purchase memorial benches, pavers, and bricks • Is adjacent to a community garden that offers opportunities to raise vegetables, herbs, and flowers in raised beds Email:

Friends of the Portland Memory Garden 404 SE 80th Avenue Portland OR 97215

• Is safe and secure • Has lots of benches and seating in both sun and shade

Tool Shed





Friends of the Portland Memory Garden

Location: Portland Memory Garden (next to Ed Benedict Park) SE 104th between Powell Blvd & Bush Street


2014 by GardensPresented in Senior Living Funded by Evercare, Oregon


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Friends of the Portland Memory Garden Tri-Fold Panphlet

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Portland Memory Garden

Leadership Brian Bainnson Founder and Principal of Quatrefoil, Inc. Vice President of the Friends of Portland Memory Garden Past President, Oregon Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Member, Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Board (CLARB) BFA and Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI Brian Bainnson, ASLA, collaborated with design professionals from allied fields to create this innovative therapeutic garden. He has since assumed a leading role in constructing and maintaining the garden.

circumnavigating paths, and blending fencing and enclosing structures with the surrounding landscape with adjacent other projects. He finds public gardens to be the most challenging since they have more restrictions and limitations on the planting palette, construction materials, and other features that enliven a garden such as art installations and water features. In his private-sector projects, which are less subject to vandalism and city requirements, he includes birdhouses and kinetic art installations that respond to and enhance other garden elements. These features are often reminiscent of garden accessories that elderly individuals may have had in their own yard in the past. Scientists who study memory disorders, especially Alzheimerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s disease, are frequently making new discoveries. Bainnson takes these into consideration in his designs and makes great efforts to respond to the emerging needs of elderly, those in assisted living, and individuals with memory disorders. (Bainnson, 2014; Design - Landscape Architeture - Space Planning, N.D.)

He has designed over 35 therapeutically gardens throughout the U.S. since the development of the Portland Memory Garden; 15 of which have been in collaboration with Horticultural Therapy department of Legacy Health System in Portland. He uses the Portland Memory Garden as a case study to apply design aspects to other gardens designs by assessing what features have proven to work well and which have suggested opportunities for improvement. He applies design principles such as a onepoint entry, many seating opportunities, a hierarchy of wide, Page 22

Joel Grogan | Colin Roberts | Sahela Kolb | Kori Land

Patty Cassidy President of the Friends of Portland Memory Garden Registered Horticultural Therapist at AHTA, Legacy Health System, Portland, OR Master Gardener, Oregon State University

became involved in the Portland Memory Garden through a colleague she met while employed as intern at Legacy Health Systems horticultural training program. Her clients are primarily seniors and abused and neglected children. She began working at the Portland Memory Garden as a volunteer, and used the garden for her own horticultural therapy practice. Though now president of Friends of the Portland Memory Garden, she still conducts volunteer year-round maintenance of the garden, and lives only short distance away. (Cassidy, 2014; Welcome, N.D.)

MA Counseling American Horticultural Therapy Association Board Member

Patty Cassidy is President of Friends of Portland Memory Garden, a Registered Horticultural Therapist, and a board member of the American Horticultural Therapy Association. Her publications, The Illustrated Practical Guide to Gardening for Seniors (2011), and The Age Proof Garden (2013), represent some of the first practical guides on designing gardens using horticultural therapy principles. She received her horticultural training registration through Legacy Health System in Portland Oregon. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and also has a M.A. in clinical psychology from Lewis and Clark University, and a B.S. in Education from Salem State College in Massachusetts. Cassidy had professional experience as a teacher and counselor when she was introduced the field of horticultural therapy. She

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Portland Memory Garden

Future: Hopes and Plans Future

Short Term The immediate goal of the Friends of the Portland Memory Garden is to secure funding for the garden’s maintenance to ensure its long-term success. The seasonal change-out and replacement of plants is one of the most costly aspects of the garden. Most plants are donated, but with more funding, the garden could be catered even more so to specific horticultural practices by selecting plants rather than accepting whatever is donated. One of Cassidy’s concerns in whether the garden is keeping up with vandalism. She described some examples, such as the occasional broken restroom windows, benches with carvings on them, beer cans and bottles littered throughout the garden. She specifically mentioned a hamburger bun scavenger hunt that was left unsolved. Cassidy explained that visitors are more reluctant to spend time in the garden if vandalism is apparent; it makes the space uninviting.

Carving on one of the garden benches

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Safety is the garden’s utmost concern. Maintaining the level grade of pavers and walking surfaces are extremely important for elderly whose bone structure becomes more fragile with age; a minor fall could cause them great injury. Power washing the concrete walls and ground surface helps maintain the visual cues of pathways, which are marked by different colors and textures, so they can continue to prevent potential falls. Long Term Both Bainnson and Cassidy are excited to introduce an interpretive information kiosk in the garden that allows visitors access to information about the garden, its plants, and information about horticultural therapy in multiple languages. The garden hopes to place plant identification labels around the garden, but is waiting to figure out how to make the signs less subject to theft. Bainnson explained a few of the garden’s original designs were never established. He hopes with time and funding some of those features can be installed. He described some of these features in more detail: The circular planter near the entrance with a young Stewartia tree growing in it was intended to be a waterfall. The presence of water in horticultural therapy is important because of the variation in sound and light it can provide. The Portland Water Bureau requires approval of any public water features to ensure that they meet the required life span and maintenance specifications prior to construction. Bainnson hopes the bureau will endorse a fountain for the garden in the future but the $20,000-30,000 price tag will also require a great deal of fundraising.

Joel Grogan | Colin Roberts | Sahela Kolb | Kori Land

Handrails originally lined some pathways from the entrance to seating areas. Due to costs, they were put on hold to be installed at a later date. Introducing handrails into the garden would make the space safer and more approachable for the elderly and those of various physical abilities. Garden accessories such as birdhouses and wind chimes are reminiscent of things elderly may have enjoyed in their own garden in the past. Horticultural therapists and specialists in memory design suggest that these features, which harken back to familiar objects, can be comforting to people with memory disorders. Cassidy suggests that hiring a marketing consultant would be well worth the investment, in order to increase public awareness of the garden, increase and widen the visitor demographic, and gain greater support from volunteers and sponsors. She says the garden is only as good as the support and attention it gets.

Initail Water Feature Design presented to the ASLA

Original Ideas with Birdhouses

Intended Fountain

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Chapter III T h e G a r d e n T o day

Portland Memory Garden

Portland Memory Garden Today Location and Context

Kelly Butte and Ed Benedict Park

Kelly Butte Natural Area



Ed Benedict Park





0 500 1000

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Ed Benedict City Park

skate park

playground basketball court


soccer field

soccer field

Portland Memory Garden (see subsequent maps)



0 50 100



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Portland Memory Garden

Memory Garden and Community Garden Adjacencies



forested area


garden entrance

SE 102n d S T R EET

lawn labyrinth

commmunity garden



0 10 20

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Joel Grogan | Colin Roberts | Sahela Kolb | Kori Land

Portland Memory Garden Schematic Plan Legend 1

Entrance Gate


Entrance Signage


Covered Entry Structure


Pergola Picnic Area




Circular Paths


Lighting Fixtures


Restroom and Tool Shed


Open Lawn


Raised and Sloped Planter Beds


Circumnavigating Fence


Garden as an Amphitheater

11 4

10 12 9 8 5

6 7

3 2 1

Schematic drawing of the Portland Memory Garden by Brian Bainnson . Some built elements differ slightly from schematic.

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Portland Memory Garden

Design Intentions





One Entrance People with memory disorders have a tendency to wander away from their caregivers. Having an enclosed space with only one entrance allows these individuals the freedom to explore without getting lost. A single entrance also acts as a landmark that helps visitors navigate the garden. “The entry to the garden provides a slightly raised overlook area that allows visitors to preview the layout of the entire garden before entering.” (Center for an Aging Society N.D.) Page 32

Pergola and Covered Structure Seniors are very sensitive to direct sun. Shaded areas with seating options are easily accessible throughout the garden. The covered structure opposing the gates marks the entrance and provides seating areas protected from rain. As noted by the Center for an Aging Society (N.D.), “The covered entry structure and arbor provide landmarks.” The pergola on the north side frames a picnic table and looks out at the mature trees beyond the garden. Joel Grogan | Colin Roberts | Sahela Kolb | Kori Land

wheelchair users. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are many places to just sit and enjoy the garden. Benches are provided in a circle around a central stone planter, and along the outside of the main pathway, providing many different views.â&#x20AC;? (Center for an Aging Society, N.D.)



Benches Providing many resting options is important for the physically frail. In this way, design of the many benches in the garden is sensitive to the needs of seniors. The armrests of the benches are high and flat to help when sitting down or standing up. The benches are set back from the main pathways to not obstruct traffic and many have paved open spaces next to them for

Circular Paths Circular paths without dead ends help way finding and prevent people with memory disorders form getting lost or disoriented. Visitors will always find their way back to the entrance. Main pathways are eight feet wide with a one-foot wide edging on either side cuing the change of materiality and surface. Since Page 33

Portland Memory Garden

eyesight deteriorates with age; the clear distinction provided by the pavers prevents potential falling, which can cause especially severe injuries for elderly individuals, who tend to have fragile bones. Wide paths provide space for wheelchair users to maneuver easily through the space. Gravel provides a gently challenging walking surface for seniors and helps visitors distinguish main pathways from smaller trails.



Restroom and Tool Shed The restroom facilities are ADA accessible, provide drinking fountains and house, a tool shed used by volunteers. Lighting and Safety Tall lanterns illuminate the garden from dusk until dawn. Keeping the garden well-lit helps visitors navigate the garden in the evening and discourages vandalism at night. Page 34

Joel Grogan | Colin Roberts | Sahela Kolb | Kori Land



Raised and Sloped Planters Raised planter beds in the inner circle of the garden are sloped toward the circular lawn. The height variation allows seniors to choose a seating height most comfortable for them. The raised beds bring plants up close to the passerby, allowing visitors to experience the smells and texture of the plants.

Center Lawn Open lawn is a common landscape vernacular of the suburban neighborhoods that many seniors grew up in. The circular lawn is the center of an implied amphitheater in the garden. Wide pathways welcome wheelchairs to access the grassy edge that border them. Page 35

Portland Memory Garden


Organization of Plantings The plants within the garden are oriented toward the circumnavigating pathways within. Larger trees and shrubs are placed closer to the fence while low growing plants line the edges of the pathways. The open views into the wooded area of Ed Benedict Park and to Kelly Butte visually and experientially extend the garden into the greater landscape context.

Fence: Inside-out; Outside-in A fenced perimeter maintains the safety of the garden and its visitors. The fence is veiled by plants and blended into its surroundings to avoid the garden feeling like a â&#x20AC;&#x153;jail yardâ&#x20AC;? (Bainnson, 2014). The mulched planter beds bordering either side of the fence lead the eye beyond the gardenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s edge. Page 36

Joel Grogan | Colin Roberts | Sahela Kolb | Kori Land

Plantings Engaging all the Senses According to the Center for an Aging Society (N.D.), “Plantings evoke childhood memories. Many plant varieties common in older gardens are featured to spark pleasant memories of the past.” “The rich botanical collection provides four seasons of sensory stimulation, including plants that are interesting to look at, touch and smell.”

Seasonality The garden is most popular and most accessible in summer months. Many seniors cannot spend much time in cold wet weather and also prefer the garden in full bloom. The garden hosts many summer programs, tours, and horticultural therapy sessions. Although summer is the most popular season, the Friends of the Portland Memory Garden work hard to keep the garden a rich sensory experience throughout the year, as noted by the Center for an Aging Society (N.D.), “The rich botanical collection provides four seasons of sensory stimulation, including plants that are interesting to look at, touch and smell.”

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Portland Memory Garden


Garden as Model The garden is meant to be a model for the community. It portrays how plants are paired according to color, texture, and form. It showcases innovative design principles that are sensitive to needs of elderly and those with memory disorders. It demonstrates how to care for a garden and how to engage the community. Page 38

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Works Cited

Portland Memory Garden

Annotated Bibliography Bainnson, Brian. “Interview with Brian Bainnson.” Personal interview. 25 May 2014. Blackbourn, Nick. “Kelly Butte.” The Southeast Examiner of Portland Oregon. The Southeast Examiner, 1 May 2013. Web. 09 June 2014. An extremely brief history of Kelly Butte, describing the many different land uses and activities that occurred there. Cassidy, Patty. “Interview with Patty Cassidy.” Personal interview. 25 May 2014. Center of Design for an Aging Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 June 2014. < htm> In addition to a detailed analysis of the therapeutic elements included in the Portland Memory Garden, The Center of Design for an Aging Society’s webpage provides a wealth of information on design principles for designing both interior and exterior environments. Eunice Noell-Waggoner, the president of the center, also served as the Project Director for the Portland Memory Garden and has practiced interior architectural design for over 30 years. “Clinton Kelly (minister).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 May 2014. Web. 09 June 2014. Wikipedia’s page on Clinton Kelly provides a very brief overview and links to primary sources. “Cyclotram.” : Kelly Butte, 1906-1910. Creative Commons, n.d. Web. 09 June 2014. This blogger provides an extremely detailed timeline of the Kelly Butte Area, with references to original sources from the

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Oregonian newspaper archives and other reputable sources. “Design - Landscape Architecture - Space Planning.” Quatrefoil, Inc. - Design - Landscape Architecture - Space Planning. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 June 2014. <http://www.>. Brian Bainnson’s Portland-based firm, Quatrefoil Inc., provides a wide range of institutional, commercial, governmental, and residential projects. The company’s website provides a brief biography of Brian, a portfolio of selected projects, and design philosophy. “Ed Benedict Park.” Find A ParkFacility RSS. City of Portland, Oregon, 2014. Web. 09 June 2014. The City of Portland’s interactive park-finder provides information on park amenities and history for all of the City’s major parks. Friends of the Portland Memory Garden.. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2014. < About_Us.html>. The Friends of the Portland Memory Garden’s website is the most comprehensive resource explaining the garden, its history, design principles, and opportunities to get involved. Jeff. “Mt. Hood Freeway.” Mt. Hood Freeway., 29 Apr. 2011. Web. 09 June 2014. This blog provides a number of photos of the models and drawings of the proposed Mt. Hood Freeway. It also provides references to several primary sources.

Joel Grogan | Colin Roberts | Sahela Kolb | Kori Land

Kirk, Annie. “Oregon Chapter ASLA Annual Therapeutic Gardens Conference |” Oregon Chapter ASLA Annual Therapeutic Gardens Conference | N.p., 2004. Web. 02 June 2014. < aspx?id=6286>. The ASLA’s professional interest group on therapeutic garden design provides resources and information for landscape professionals interested in learning more about therapeutic design and connecting with other professionals in the field.

“Welcome.” Patty Cassidy Gardening for Wellness. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2014. < PattyCassidy/Welcome.html>. Patty Cassidy’s professional website provides detailed information on her personal and professional background, including presentations, her books, and consulting services. She has distinguished herself one of the premier horticultural design experts focusing specifically on gardens that cater toward the elderly.

Nelson, Grant. “The Early Years of Mt. Tabor.” Mt Tabor Neighborhood Association - History: The Early Years of Mt. Tabor. Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association, n.d. Web. 09 June 2014. This website gives a brief history of southeast Portland. “Portland’s Living Labyrinth - About - Google+.” Portland’s Living Labyrinth - About - Google+. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 June 2014. < about>. The Modern Hospital. Ed. Henry M. Hurd, Frederic A. Washburn, Winford H. Smith, S. S. Goldwater, W. L. Babcock, H. E. Webster, R. G. Brodrick, and M. T. MacEachern. Vol. 17. Chicago: Modern Hospital, 1921. 78. Print. This book mentions the new Kelly Butte Hospital on page 78. This periodical provided monthly news and updates from hospitals across the entire US.

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Portland Memory Garden

An Early Design Scheme

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Initail Memory Garden Designs presented to the ASLA

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Portland Memory Garden  

This report discusses the history and conception of the Portland Memory Garden, a therapeutic garden located in Southeast Portland, OR. Th...

Portland Memory Garden  

This report discusses the history and conception of the Portland Memory Garden, a therapeutic garden located in Southeast Portland, OR. Th...