As community members trade visits to Portland’s Living Room for their own, the Square’s on-site staff is still hard at work with the repairs, cleaning and maintenance necessary to keep the heart of our downtown safe and clean. This month, we have an interview with Carl Ward, the Square’s Janitorial Associate, who plays an integral role to the success of the Square on a daily basis. We are proud to share some of his experiences throughout his nearly 30-year connection with the Square. We hope you learn more about Carl’s important role and his dedication to the well-being of the Square over the years.   

Q: When did you start working at Pioneer Courthouse Square?

CW: I first started working at the Square through Central City Concern with their Downtown Clean and Safe program from 1992-2005 where I pressure washed and cleaned up after events in the Square. I then joined Recology where I continued to work in the Square as a contractor through 2013. Finally, in 2014 I officially joined the Square’s part-time staff as a Production Assistant, helping build events from the bricks up. With my longstanding background of caring for the Square and first-hand knowledge of Square events, I accepted my current position as a full-time Janitorial Associate to lead the day-to-day ground operations in 2018.

Q: What does your day look like in the Square?

CW: No one day looks the same in a place this unique. I task myself with being the person responsible for checking-in on the Square and am the first to notice if anything is out of place. My main responsibility is to fulfill my janitorial duties that range from collecting trash and debris on the outside of the Square, to sweeping and mopping the interior of the building where TriMet and KGW are located. There’s not a lot I won’t do, and often you’ll also find me pressure washing the bricks when they are dirty, watering the plants and flowers throughout the block or even unclogging a toilet or several. Between pressure washing the bricks, watering the plants and greenery or changing a light-bulb, every day at the Square looks different.

Q: What is your favorite part about working in Portland’s Living Room?

CW: Whether it’s just the usual lunch crowd or a big Summer event, there’s always something new to see, something new to do and new people to talk to. And of course, nothing beats helping to put up Portland’s Tree each holiday season. There’s never a dull moment.

Q: What is your favorite event to come through the Square?

CW: Festa Italiana was my favorite event because it spans several days and there was such a diverse range of activities and people celebrating in the Square. I also love the American Indian Day which comes each Fall. I look forward to the music, the dancing and the people each year.

Carl has been a welcoming and reliable face in the Square for nearly 30 years and we are so thankful for his hard work and dedication to our City’s Living Room!