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The Skanner News
Published: 23 July 2012



A crowd of about 400 people gathered, Sunday July 22, to celebrate the rededication of The Charles Jordan Community Center at 9009 N. Foss Ave.

Among those who turned out to honor Jordan were: former Portland mayors Tom Potter and Bud Clark, Mayor Sam Adams and mayoral candidate Charlie Hales. Also among the crowd were, Rep. Lew Frederick, former Portland parks director Zari Santner and current Parks director Mike Abbaté Commissioner Nick Fish, O.B. Hill, Ken Berry, Roy Jay, Rev. Allen T. Bethel; Rev. Leroy Haines, Patricia Warren, Keylah Boyer Frazier, Commissioner Loretta Smith along Jordan's family and many colleagues and friends.

Formerly known as University Park Community center, the Charles Jordan Community Center is one of the largest and best-used in the city.  Located near Rosa Parks elementary school in the Portsmouth neighborhood, the center serves hundreds of children and adults. It has a state-of-the -art weight room, a large gym, a computer lab, rock climbing wall, basketball court and meeting rooms. New artwork, that includes a picture of the man himself, will adorn the walls.

Portland City Council voted unanimously to honor Jordan for his contributions to Portland. As a twice-elected city commissioner, and later as Parks director, Jordan literally changed Portland's landscape. During the 14 years he was Parks director, the bureau added 44 new parks and natural areas.

There's not a place where you can look in this city and not see his footprint," says Michelle Harper, who worked with Jordan at the City and at Portland Parks.

"'Portland's living room,' Pioneer Courthouse Square, would not have existed if not for his leadership. And he was the first to call it Portland's living room. In so many ways, he was ahead of his time."

A committee set up to create a legacy to Jordan decided proposed to rename University Park Community Center as the Charles Jordan Community Center. Built to house shipyard workers who arrived in Portland during the 1940s, the center is a relic of Vanport, the low-income multi-racial community lost to flooding when a dike broke on the Columbia River.

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