Lillian Pitt Public Artwork: River Guardian on the Willamette River

With a headdress of steel adorning her lead crystal glass head, and a body constructed of both copper and steel, River Guardian stands nine-feet tall along the banks of the Willamette River at the South Waterfront in Portland, Oregon. She watches with two faces: one looking toward the river, and one looking in the opposite direction, signifying her protection of people on both water and land. This public art installation is the result of a collaboration between Lillian Pitt and Mikkel Hilde. The artwork was commissioned through a joint effort between the Portland State University Native American community and Portland City Parks.

Lillian Pitt is a Pacific Northwest Native American artist. She was born and raised on the Warm Springs reservation in Oregon and her ancestors lived in and near the Columbia River Gorge for over 10,000 years. The focus of her work is on creating contemporary fine art pieces that delight today’s art lovers, and at the same time, honor the history and legends of her people.

“I have a very strong commitment to helping in any way that I can when it comes to shining a light on the cultures of river people. That’s because my ancestors all lived along the Columbia River, and depended largely on fishing for their livelihood. So I was thrilled to be able to bring River Guardian to the South Waterfront.”

For more information about Lillian Pitt’s work and a list of her other public art pieces to view in the area, please visit

Contact Information

Lilian Pitt
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OHSU Neurosurgery Clinic, 3303 SW Bond Ave, Portland, Oregon 97239, United States

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