Located between Main and Salmon is the Shemanski Fountain, given to the city by Joseph Shemanski in 1926 to "express in small measure gratitude for what the city has done for me." Shemanski (1869-1951) was a Polish immigrant who started out as a traveling clock salesman before he founded the Eastern Outfitting Co. and became an extremely successful businessman. The triangular structure of cast Oregon sandstone was designed by Carl L. Linde, a local architect whose work included many fine homes, hotels, and apartments. The fountain includes three small, low drinking basins for dogs.
The original design included a large central planter, but after the fountain was erected, Shemanski felt that a sculpture would better complete the graceful cupola. He commissioned Oliver Laurence Barrett, an art professor at the University of Oregon, to create a bronze statue of Rebecca at the Well. It is not clear why Rebecca was chosen, but as the wife of Isaac in the Old Testament known for her hospitality to strangers and kindness to animals, she was a fitting choice.
The block Shemanski Fountain resides in, between Salmon Street and Main Street, is sometimes referred to as Shemanski Park. Beginning on December 3rd, 2011, Occupy Portland briefly used the block as a camp and a protest staging point, but numbers quickly fizzled due to police actions, territorial local drug dealers, and prohibitions against tent or sleeping bag use (with overnight temperatures in the low 30s F).
Local drug dealers are aggressively territorial over the block, as discovered by Occupy Portland activists in early December of 2011, when the activists attempted to use the block as a center of operations.
- Statue in the S.W. Park blocks in Portland, Oregon, 1959
- Portland Places: South Park Blocks -- 2. Shemanski Fountain