Salmon Run Bell Tower Restoration

The Salmon Run Bell Tower in the distance with flowers and trees in the foreground.

Vancouver’s most recognized landmark is getting ready for the future. The Salmon Run Bell Tower and Glockenspiel in Esther Short Park is being repaired and restored in 2024.

Built in 2002, the structure has experienced normal wear from the elements, as well as more complex maintenance issues caused by chlorine from the water feature interacting with the original building materials. This project will bring everything back into working order and incorporate necessary updates so we can continue to maintain this important landmark for generations to come.

We are currently accepting contractor bids for the project through June 11. Work is expected to start in July and be completed by early 2025.

Key goals of this restoration project are:

The restoration project area is focused in Propstra Square, around the tower. The exact work area may shift throughout the project to ensure public safety as work is completed on different components.

Summer provides the best weather conditions to work on this complex and intricate project. We will minimize construction impacts for the public whenever possible and most of the park will remain open for play and enjoyment throughout the restoration.

History

Established in 1853, Esther Short Park is the oldest public park in the state of Washington. In the 1990s, the community and the City worked together to revitalize the park and create an inviting community space to bring new life to downtown Vancouver.

The Salmon Run Bell Tower and Glockenspiel was proposed and made possible by a donation from the George and Carolyn Propstra Fund. The iconic 69-foot tower was designed by Cindy Sterry and anchors the Propstra Square section of the park. The storytelling diorama, audio accompaniment and the bronze salmon sculptures were included to honor the first peoples in the region and highlight Vancouver’s connection to the Columbia River.

The Salmon Run Bell Tower and Glockenspiel was dedicated during a public celebration in June 2002.

A large group of people look up at the newly constructed Salmon Run Bell Tower and Glockenspiel in 2002.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the park be closed during construction?

No. Esther Short Park will remain open during construction. Starting in July, the work area in the Propstra Square bricks will be fenced off for safety.

Will there still be events happening in the park during the project?

You will still see all our great festivals and events happening in the park this summer, just laid out a bit differently.

Will the water feature be on during the project?

The project includes critical repairs to the water feature’s pump house and mechanics. This work will not allow us to turn the water feature in Propstra Square. You can still splash and cool off at the Columbia River Water Feature at Vancouver Waterfront Park. Or visit the community center pools at Marshall and Firstenburg during a public swim session.

How is the City paying for this project?

To honor the original gift and preserve it for future generations, funds were allocated for this project in the City’s 2023-24 budget.

What will happen to the engraved bricks that surround the bell tower in Propstra Square?

Most of the engraved bricks will remain in place during the restoration project. If an engraved brick needs to be removed for any reason, it will be replaced by the City and Parks Foundation of Clark County. 

Contact Us

Have a question about the Salmon Run Bell Tower and Glockenspiel restoration project? Want to share a memory or story about this special place in our community? Complete the City’s contact form to let us know what’s on your mind and we will get back to you soon.