Council accepts new funky bench sculptures for Bayside Trail

The city of Portland’s public art collection has some things that are nice to look at and other things that are otherwise functional.

(Illustration courtesy of the city of Portland)

The latest pieces accepted by the council into the collection fall into the latter category. Here’s an announcement by City Hall on the news:

The Portland City Council unanimously endorsed the Portland Public Art Committee’s (PPAC) recommendation for three functional art pieces to be located along the Bayside Trail. SkyeDesign of Washington DC was selected from among one hundred artists and following several public and neighborhood meetings for its sculpture design. SkyeDesign’s proposal references both the natural and built landscape along the trail, consisting of curved and undulating forms of wood slats fastened on a galvanized steel armature. Two curved and nested seating pieces will be placed as an ensemble in the large circular plaza near Elm Street. The third, a two-sided folded and curved sculpture will be located in the small circular plaza near Franklin Street.

“For more than a decade, as a community we have been working collectively to utilize the many unique and special qualities of the Bayside neighborhood as a catalyst and stabilizing factor for its development and revitalization,” remarked City of Portland Mayor Michael Brennan [in a statement]. “If you walk the Bayside Trail you can see many of the fruits of this labor and while we are not done, we are closer to realizing our Bayside Vision. The addition of public art along the trail takes us a step closer. They will add both aesthetically and functionally to the growing activity and quality of life in the neighborhood.”

The sculptures were designed to help enliven the Bayside Trail and reinforce the quality and character of space in anticipation of further development in the neighborhood. Like the Jewel Box Bus Shelter in Monument Square, the sculptures will also be functional by providing seating along the trail. The Bayside Trail connects the East Bayside and Bayside neighborhoods and is a key link for the city’s most used trails and parks: the popular Back Cove Trail, the Eastern Promenade and Eastern Prom Trail, East End Beach, and Deering Oaks — and the downtown. The 1.2 mile trail is helping change the face of Portland by turning a former industrial rail corridor into a vibrant urban amenity and is the result of a partnership between neighborhood groups, local nonprofits, the business community and the city. The pieces will be funded by a $42,500 allocation by the PPAC. Construction is expected to begin this summer with a goal of installing the sculptures in the fall.

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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.