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Water jets 'leap to life' in 2 fountains

The City of Gresham is giving a July Fourth treat to children of all ages: a new Children’s Fountain in the city’s historic downtown.

The Children’s Fountain in the Arts Plaza at 401 N.E. Second St. will splash to life at 7 a.m. Friday, July 4, and stay open all day long until 10 p.m.

Kids can cavort in two fountains – one designed for toddlers, one for bigger kids – that are powered by 43 jets of cool, clean, chlorinated water.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: CITY OF GRESHAM - The city opened the new Childrens Fountain in the Arts Plaza on July 4 where children can play in two fountains - one for big kids and one for toddlers  - that are powered by 43 computer controlled jets and lit by a display of 20 multi-colored lights at night.The fountain is built to surprise. Water is controlled by a computer program that makes the jets disappear – then leap to life – at random intervals for maximum fun. For daytime, the Children’s Fountain includes two shade structures. At night, the fountain is lit by a subtly shifting display of 20 multi-colored LED lights.

The new parks amenity is free to users – the only no-cost splash pad in East County – and was developed entirely with $1.5 million in federal funds awarded to the city of Gresham for community development.

“I am very excited to see Gresham add a great new place for our children and families, with the Children’s Fountain opening just in time for some relief from these hot days,” Mayor Shane Bemis said in a statement.  “This strategic use of federal grant dollars will not only provide our kids a safe and healthy place to play, but it will help encourage economic activity in an important area of the city, and enhance one of our newest and most important public spaces.”

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 16, the public is invited to the Arts Plaza to celebrate the launch of the Children’s Fountain.

The launch will showcase the interactive fountain and promote Rise Advance Dream (RAD) Gresham, a city initiative aimed at partnering with residents to dream big. Mayor Bemis and the Council are asking the public to brainstorm transformative ideas for Gresham’s future – ideas like a free, colorful fountain for kids. Since September 2013, the city has received dozens of ideas, ranging from a community center to an OMSI East campus, through the RAD online forum at At the July 16 fountain launch, Mayor Bemis and the city council will celebrate RAD along with business and community leaders, and residents can submit their ideas to improve life in Gresham. There will be games, giveaways and free sno-cones.

After its holiday debut, the Children’s Fountain will be open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Because the fountain does not hold water, no lifeguard will be on duty. However, all children must be supervised. Children who are not toilet trained must wear swim diapers, and swim clothing is required. For a list of fountain rules and etiquette, please visit

The Children’s Fountain is a project of the Gresham City Council, which made design and construction a 2013 priority as a way to boost the Arts Plaza and drive business activity and private investment in the city’s downtown. The Department of Environmental Services managed construction of the fountain, and Parks and Facilities Division staff will operate it. For more information, call 503-618-2300.

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