Garden honoring world-renowned cartoonist opens, inspires
A new garden that honors a fixture of Northwest Portland is opening to the public.
Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center unveils the new John Callahan Garden Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. Nestled within Legacy Good Samaritan Park on Northwest Marshall St., between 21st and 22nd Avenues, the garden was designed in honor of the late cartoonist and patient of Legacy Rehabilitation Institute of Oregon (RIO). In addition to unique plantings that reflect his personality, the new garden features an art installation designed by visual artist Tad Savinar, landscape architect Jesse Stemmler and designer John Laursen, which is comprised of Callahan’s famous cartoons interwoven with his biographical information.
“The garden honors Callahan’s life and the incredible impact it had on his community, fans and fellow patients who he inspired with his humor to support them in adapting to their new normal,” said Jonathan Avery, president of Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center. “We are thrilled to continue the development of Legacy Good Samaritan Park into a new nature destination for all to enjoy.”
A keen observer of society’s foibles and hypocrisies, John Callahan published cartoons weekly for nearly three decades in Portland’s Willamette Week newspaper. After an automobile accident in 1972, Callahan became a quadriplegic at the age of 21. Following extensive physical rehabilitation at RIO, Callahan retrained himself to draw. Humor helped Callahan deal with his struggles. And, his humor helped others too.
In 1989, he wrote his autobiography, "Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot." In 2018, his book will be released as a biopic feature film directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara, Jack Black and Jonah Hill.
The John Callahan Garden was made possible through charitable donations, including a significant grant from John Callahan’s family and friends and the Northwest Neighborhoods Parks and Recreation Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation and many generous in-kind gifts of materials and services.
Uses and volunteer opportunities
RIO therapists will utilize the John Callahan Garden, along with the rest of Legacy Good Samaritan Park, to work with patients recovering from serious conditions, such as stroke and spinal cord injuries, to learn how to walk again and/or use wheelchairs on varying surfaces and path materials in a natural healing setting.
To contribute to the John Callahan Garden, please visit www.legacyhealth.org/giving, select Good Samaritan Foundation and indicate that your gift is in support of the John Callahan Garden. You may also call Good Samaritan Foundation at 503-413-5585.
Click here to read more about Legacy’s award-winning Therapeutic Gardens.
Click here to read the Portland Business Journal article about the garden.
For media-related questions, contact Megan Deisler.