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Port donates 25K to arch project

Centennial project now just $75,000 from goal
by: Contributed graphic, Troutdale is $25,000 closer to building a Centennial Arch as a decorative gateway to downtown and the Columbia River Gorge.

TROUTDALE - Thanks to a surprise donation, Troutdale is $25,000 closer to building a Centennial Arch as a decorative gateway to downtown and the Columbia River Gorge.

The Port of Portland agreed earlier this week to contribute at the 'salmon level' for the proposed arch, which will span the Historic Columbia River Highway at the western entrance of the downtown business district. The arch, slated for completion in October, is the capstone of the city's 100-year birthday celebration in 2007.

City Councilor David Ripma, who is unofficially directing fundraising and planning efforts for the arch, is pleased by the agency's generosity.

'It's great,' he said. 'I was actually quite surprised. I submitted a request to the port, but we didn't know what they were going to do.'

The project, which will combine stonework, metal and bronze sculpture, needs about $75,000 to reach the $250,000 or so total amount required. Construction will begin in July, Ripma said.

The port's sponsorship committee supported the project to show solidarity with Troutdale. The agency has worked closely with the city to develop the former Reynolds Metals/Alcoa plant site. FedEx is expected to build a shipping facility on the property, which it purchased from the port in January.

'It's a good opportunity to show the port's commitment to the Troutdale community,' said Josh Thomas, Port of Portland spokesman. 'This will be a part of the community's future.'

The agency's sponsorship committee considers a variety of requests and weighs them against various criteria.

'This is one of them where the Port felt it was a good match.'

The port, Ripma said, joins a growing list of generous donors for the project. Artist Rip Caswell, owner of the downtown Caswell Gallery, and Comcast are among those donating at the $25,000-or-higher 'salmon' level. The 'trout' level includes donations between $10,000-$25,000, and the 'smelt' level is for $1,000 or more. Anyone donating $1,000 or more will have their name or business engraved on a bronze plaque.

Permits and rights of ways for the arch have all been cleared for the project, which is in its final engineering and drawing phase, Ripma said.

'We're all very grateful to the port for this generous contribution. It's much appreciated,' he said.

Arch fundraiser

The Troutdale and Sweetbriar elementary school students are holding a penny drive, beginning Monday, April 7, to raise money for the Troutdale Centennial Arch, which will be built sometime in the fall as a gateway to the city.

The goal between the two schools is to raise about $1,000 to have a permanent plaque on the Arch. The names of the contributors will be placed in a time capsule at the base of the Arch.

The winning classroom will be treated to a party sponsored by the Troutdale Dairy Queen.

For more information or to drop off pennies to help the school of your choice, call the Troutdale Historical Society at 503-661-2164. All donations are tax deductible.