What is now Oregon Zoo began as a few small animal exhibits in Washington Park in 1888. In 1959, the zoo moved to this location and greatly expanded. The mosaic before you, called “The Continuity of Life Forms,” was installed at what was then the entrance of the zoo. The zoo entrance moved up the hill in the late 1990s to coincide with the opening of TriMet’s MAX light rail tunnel and station, and the mosaic was mostly unseen for many years.
"In 1959, the zoo moved to this location and greatly expanded"
The panels were carefully removed and stored during construction of the zoo’s Education Center, then restored and installed here when the building opened in 20-17, in nearly the same spot as it had been originally. The multi-paneled mosaic was a significant early work in the career of Willard Martin, a noted local artist and architect best known for designing Pioneer Courthouse Square. The 20 panels form a work roughly 60-feet long and 15-feet tall and capture a panoramic sense of history and being –the forces of life –out of footprints, seeds, leaves, shells, fossils and primitive life forms that might be found in the earth’s strata.
The Japanese garden was created in Portland nearly 60 years ago and has become a hallmark of the community today.
Portland Japanese Garden
We think of forests as ancient and unchanging, but in the inland West the forests we see today look nothing like those of 150 years ago.
World Forestry Center
The International Rose Test Garden was founded in 1917 and is the oldest continuously operated public rose test garden in the United States.
International Rose Test Garden
Explore & Connect
Explore 150 years of Washington Park, originally called City Park, and its many destinations by visiting the featured Discovery Points. Each location connects you to history, photos, and community members’ stories.
Most Discovery Points are accessible from Washington Park Free Shuttle designated stops. Use our real-time shuttle tracker.
Note: Parking fills quickly on sunny weekends. Avoid traffic and learn about our transit options.