Pioneer Courthouse Square‘s 50-ish magic meters opened on April 6, 1984. The centrally located block was home to the luxurious Portland Hotel before it became a department store parking lot in 1951. In the mid-70s the idea of a public square took hold.
The theme of the opening ceremonies was A Square is Born. Mayor Frank Ivancie, who had tried to kill the square in 1981 and is most famous for losing to a bar keep in the next election, declared it “a great achievement” (The Oregonian, 7-April-1984).
The project’s architect, Portlander Willard K. Martin, famously called the square “a downtown living room for the people of Portland.”