John Callahan Memorial - CODAworx

John Callahan Memorial

Submitted by Jesse Stemmler

Client: Legacy Health

Location: Portland, OR, United States

Completion date: 2017

Artwork budget: $75,000

Project Team


Tad Savinar


John Laursen

Landscape Architect

Jesse Stemmler


John Callahan was a irreverent cartoonist, musician, artist, author and quadriplegic blessed with a vivid mind and a piercing sense of humor.

Prolific, his cartoons appeared in more than 200 publications.

The John Callahan Memorial Garden is a different take on a healing garden; using texture, form, color and above all humor to connect and heal. The garden is located near the Rehabilitation Institute of Oregon, where John spent many hours speaking with patients about the challenges they were facing. Legacy uses the Memorial as a teaching tool for those who are newly physically challenged.


It was essential that Callahan's work be at the very heart of our healing garden; using his humor to inspire, connect and heal.


We worked closely with the local hospital and adjacent church to create a pocket park that was accessible to all. Furthermore, we worked with Callahan's family, friends and community of artists to create a place that memorializes John while continues his legacy of inspiring and healing.