Major public art installations at two future light rail stations

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Time-lapse video shows 28-foot diameter earth cast sculpture being lifted into place

Two major public art sculptures were installed this week at two of the future Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project (PMLR) stations. The sculptures were installed at the SE Tacoma/Johnson Creek and the Lincoln St/SW 3rd Ave MAX stations.

Earth cast sculpture at the SE Tacoma/Johnson Creek MAX Station
North Carolina artist Thomas Sayre’s earth cast concrete sculptures were fabricated on site of the future SE MAX station.

The first of two earth cast sculptures being installed at future SE Tacoma/Johnson Creek Station

The first of two earth cast sculptures being installed at future SE Tacoma/Johnson Creek Station

In August 2013 molds for the sculptures were dug directly into the ground, rebar reinforcement was lowered into place and then custom-colored concrete was poured into the mold. The concrete cured for two months before the first of two sculptures were excavated this week. The second sculpture will be unearthed and installed next year.

The round sculpture is 28-foot in diameter, and it’s the first time this type of fabrication has been used on a TriMet light rail art project. Sayre and team were assisted by PMLR’s East Segment General Contractor Stacy and Witbeck.

The sculptures are a response to the industrialization and subsequent restoration of Johnson Creek and represent the influence of many different wheels upon the site, from a 19th-century sawmill on Johnson Creek to the wheels of the future light rail. A time-lapse video shows the fabrication and installation of one of the sculptures, which occurred over a period of eight hours. See the time-lapse video.

Trio at the Lincoln St/SW 3rd Ave MAX Station
Seattle-area artist Elizabeth Conner and crew installed three abstract, mixed metal sculptures, entitled Trio. The steel sculptures were inspired by the theatrical and participatory work of choreographer Anna Halprin and Lawrence Halprin, the architect of the adjacent Halprin District. The sculptures range in height from 9 to 12 feet and 2 to 5 feet in width.

Mixed metal sculptures entitled Trio is installed at the Lincoln St/SW 3rd Ave Station

Mixed metal sculptures entitled Trio is installed at the Lincoln St/SW 3rd Ave Station

“In designing sculptures for this space, I considered the Halprins’ radical advocacy for a wide range of participation in spaces that are truly public,” said Conner. “My artwork for this space is a respectful reference to the ephemeral nature of traveling from one place to another, with a glimpse of movement, light and shadow, out of the corner of the eye.”

Public Art
TriMet requires that public art be included in light rail construction projects. TriMet’s policy allocates 1.5 percent of the project’s civil construction budget towards public art. Approximately $3 million of the overall PMLR budget of $1.49 billion is dedicated to public art.

About the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project
The 7.3-mile project is the region’s sixth MAX construction project to be built and extends from the terminus of the MAX Green and Yellow lines at Portland State University in Downtown Portland to South Waterfront, SE Portland, Milwaukie and North Clackamas County. About the project:

• 7.3 miles
• 10 stations
• The first of its kind multi-modal bridge that will carry light rail, buses, bikes, pedestrians and a future Portland Streetcar extension, but no private vehicles.
• Opens Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015
• Expands the MAX system to 60 miles and 97 stations

Project partners
The Federal Transit Administration, State of Oregon, Clackamas County, Metro, City of Milwaukie, Multnomah County, City of Oregon City, Oregon Department of Transportation, City of Portland, Portland Development Commission and TriMet.