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Jordan honored with day of remembrance

Mayor Charlie Hales issued a mayoral proclamation Wednesday morning honoring the late Charles Jordan.

Hales proclaimed April 9, 2014, as a day of remembrance for the former City Commissioner and Portland Parks & Recreation director, who died last Friday at the age of 77.

Friends and former colleagues offered their thoughts prior to this morning’s formal City Council session on Jordan’s impressive and lasting legacy, and how he will be remembered.

“He loved every color in the rainbow of humanity,” said retired PP&R Director Zari Santner, who succeeded Jordan as head of the bureau. “Because he knew that diversity would increase vitality for all. His most enduring gift was to inspire”.

Jordan’s son Dion, a Portland Parks board member, was on hand to accept the Mayor’s proclamation.

“Thanks for all the love, condolences and support you all have shared with me and my family,” said an emotional Dion Jordan as he addressed the Mayor and City Commissioners. “My father…was something special.”

Recalling a conversation with his father from a few years ago, Dion remembered Charles Jordan reflecting on his life’s work.

“He said, ‘I never set out to do all this. I never set out to accomplish the things I've done’,” recalled Dion. “He said he only wanted to do one thing, and that was the right thing. That he wanted to treat everybody right, love everyone unconditionally, and then he felt like his life would be meaningful. And it has been.”

The proclamation, which lists many of Jordan's accomplishments, reads as follows:

Whereas, Mr. Charles Ray Jordan was appointed as Portland’s first African American City Commissioner in 1974, and then publicly elected to his seat in 1976; and

Whereas, Charles Jordan served on the Portland City Council for ten years, and during his tenure led Portland Fire & Rescue, the Portland Police Bureau, and Portland Parks & Recreation; and

Whereas, in 1989, Charles Jordan was named Director of Portland Parks & Recreation, and under his leadership the bureau added 44 parks and natural areas; and

Whereas, Charles Jordan’s leadership extended beyond Portland, and he became a leading national voice in the parks and recreation movement; and

Whereas, Charles Jordan understood the value of public parks and open spaces, wisely sharing that parks are “more than just fun and games”; and

Whereas, Charles Jordan was, above all else, passionate about access to parks and recreation programs for everyone, inspiring countless peers and other people to help themselves and their community; and

Whereas, Charles Jordan led Portland into a new era of parks and recreation, which earned Portland a National Gold Medal in 2011; and

Whereas, in honor of his service to the city, Commissioner Nick Fish dedicated the Charles Jordan Community Center in his name on July 22, 2012; and

Whereas, Charles Jordan passed away on April 4, 2014 at the age of 77;

Now, therefore, I, Charlie Hales, Mayor of the City of Portland, Oregon, the “City of Roses,” do hereby proclaim April 9, 2014 to be a day of remembrance for Charles Jordan in Portland, and encourage all residents to observe this day.