Artwork at Old Portland Road, 11th Street depicts Native canoes on water

by: COURTESY OF THE CITY OF ST. HELENS - A work crew anchors the new steel pole that holds up an art banner at Old Portland Road and South 11th Street in St. Helens into place Friday, May 16.The St. Helens Arts and Cultural Commission reinstalled an art banner at the intersection of Old Portland Road and South 11th Street on Friday, May 16, according to a city release.

It was the third time that banner and pole, part of a public art project originally approved in 2008, have gone up at the location along the Highway 30 business route into Old Town St. Helens.

The banner and others like it were originally installed in 2011, but three were removed after the banner at Old Portland Road and 11th Street fell during a February 2012 windstorm. They were reinstalled last summer after changes were made to the mechanism anchoring them to brackets on the poles, city officials said, but they were taken down again in July after the 11th Street banner came loose.

Despite the problems, the city of St. Helens has stood by the art project. The arts commission intends to put up all five of the banners that have been created for the project this summer, according to the city.

“It is a distinctively beautiful public art project,” Kannikar Petersen, commission chairwoman, is quoted as saying in the release. “I always believed that the past problems were only technical in nature and could be overcome.”

The F-shaped banner poles themselves have been redesigned. The old aluminum poles are being replaced with thicker steel poles engineered by Lower Columbia Engineering and built by Pacific Industrial Service Inc. — both St. Helens-based companies.

The banners are meant to rotate in the wind while remaining anchored to their brackets on both the top and the bottom.

The art banner that is now up once again at Old Portland Road and 11th Street depicts canoes on the water, a callback to St. Helens’ Native American heritage.

The banner itself is made of painted aluminum.

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