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Case Studies 

Share-It Square




Contributed by 
Daniel Lerch
Project for Public Spaces
March 10, 2003
December 14, 2017

The residents of Sellwood created a community gathering place in an intersection, complete with a food-sharing stand, and a 24-hour tea station.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

Share-It Square is located in Portland's Sellwood neighborhood. Looking to create a community gathering place, residents turned an intersection into their own public square. They painted a geometric design based on an indigenous symbol for gathering and peace in the center of the intersection to define the space. Share-It Square also has installed on the street corners: a community bulletin board and chalkboard; a food-sharing stand; a kids' playhouse; and a 24-hour tea station _ a thermos with tea cups and tea; neighbors take turns keeping it supplied with hot water and tea.

Access & Linkages

Share-It Square is located in the heart of a residential neighborhood, blocks from any main street. Thus, it provides a much-needed and well-used focus for community identity and gathering.

Comfort & Image

After installation of Share-It Square, organizers surveyed their neighbors and found that an overwhelming majority (over 85% in each case) felt that crime had decreased, traffic had slowed, and communication between neighbors had improved.

Uses & Activities

In addition to permanent features such at the tea cart and the produce station, where people can get, give away, or trade food for free, the neighbors close the Square to traffic a few times a year for neighborhood celebrations.


A wonderful gathering place for neighbors to enjoy.

How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

Share-It Square was the first project of this kind in Portland. Creation of the Square led to City adoption of the ordinance that allowed similar projects to be created, including Sunnyside Piazza.

Related Links & Sources

Share-It Square
Images courtesy of CityRepair.org
Share-It Square
Share-It Square
Share-It Square
Share-It Square
Share-It Square
Share-It Square
Share-It Square

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.


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