Are fountains folly?


Although they are beautiful when in operation, the several fountains around Portland State’s campus are rarely on and constantly leak. Some require expensive maintenance costs. 

For some fountains to operate, such as the Farewell To Orpheus fountain in the South Park Blocks, the university could face $100,000 in refurbishment costs to meet city standards of sanitation, according to a Facilities and Planning employee who wished to remain anonymous. However, other fountains—like the three-part fountain found in the Urban Plaza—leak and are in constant need of repair. 

The Urban Plaza fountains have not been running since construction began on the area in the fall of 2009. When tested, the fountains were found to have leaks and broken parts. The needed pumps that help circulate water have been ordered and the fountains will be repaired soon, the employee said.
 PSU maintains four fountains on a campus: the Walk of Heroines fountain in front of Hoffman Hall, the fountain outside of the Student Health and Counseling building, a three-part fountain in the Urban Plaza and the Farewell To Orpheus fountain.

  The employee said that the fountains take a lot of maintenance and require so much work that FAP does not have the staff to keep up. It costs up to $300,000 per fountain to keep them running every year.

The employee said that the amount of money invested does not seem to be worth the end result, which is more maintenance and money.

“We have to add chlorine, check carbon dioxide levels and clean them,” he said. “We must treat fountains like a swimming pool.”

Maintenance costs are not the only setbacks FAC faces to keep the fountains running.

The Walk of the Heroines fountain has been vandalized a number of times in the past month. The employee said that dirt and flowers were put into the fountain, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage repairs.


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