Bing was one of Portland’s first sustainable architects – well ahead of the ubiquity of the title today. At a time when people were demolishing older buildings in the 1970s and 80s, Bing worked to preserve the existing fabric of the city. On the Portland City Planning Commission in the 1970s, Bing championed downtown density, access to nature, walkability, human-scale development and alternative transportation. He helped lead the creation of the Portland Downtown Plan, which spawned a vibrant city center, robust public transit, an active pedestrian riverscape and a strong hub of commerce.
As SERA’s founding architect, he revitalized some of Portland’s most iconic historic structures, including Montgomery Park, the Galleria and Portland City Hall. He advocated for affordable housing and dedicated his time to a number of pro-bono projects and community service organizations.
Even after retiring in 2012, Bing maintained a desk at SERA and returned to our Old Town office almost daily. Sitting in meetings and passing by informal work conversations, he continued to provoke thought among staff. His ideas remained progressive, and his distaste for inequity and the slow pace of progress pushed him to be an active board member of groups such as Portland Forward, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, and Children First for Oregon until the day he passed.
His work and dedication inspires our staff to think more broadly about our impact on the health and livability of our city. We were honored by his presence, and are forever thankful for his legacy.
George ‘Bing’ Crosby Sheldon, Jr.
May 8, 1934 – April 30, 2016