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Downtown art projects land sculptor

Artist will design two large pieces for Pacific Highway at Main Street


Portland artist Brian Borello will install two large public art pieces along Pacific Highway at Main Street.Brian Borello is looking to add a little color to your daily commute.

Borello, a Portland-based artist and educator, has been selected by the city of Tigard to design two large public art pieces along Pacific Highway at each Southwest Main Street intersection.

“I know it will be a lot of work, but I am looking forward to it,” Borello said from his studio in North Portland.

The art is meant to catch the attention of passing motorists, as well as be engaging to pedestrians walking in the area, and invite people to explore Main Street.

It’s part of a series of projects aimed at revitalizing the long struggling downtown.

In November, the city commissioned the $60,000 public art project to spruce things up near the downtown core.

Sean Farrelly, the city’s downtown redevelopment director, said that of the 60 applicants from across the West Coast who applied to take on the art project, Borello’s exuberance stood out from the rest.

“He has a real passion for public art,” Farrelly said. “He engages with the community and creates something that reflects the community and its values.”

It’s too early to say with any certainty what the art pieces will look like, Borello said. However, he likes to bring hidden aspects of the area’s history or culture to life through his art.

“Every project has its own special qualities, and this one has its own, too,” Borello said. “I generally try to look for bringing up some of the unseen — sometimes the unknown qualities of the history and people and culture of a place — and try to put some daylight on that.”

Borello isn’t a stranger to public art projects in the Portland area. Borello designed the large flowerig fixtures at the Lents Town Center MAX station, as well as MAX stations near the Rose Garden.

For his Lents Hybrids piece at the Lents Town Center, Borello created tall green and yellow flower-like sculptures, which he said reflected the long native grasses that once grew in the area.

Borello said he wants to get community feedback on the designs and will work with the community and business leaders in the area as he dreams up his creative plans for Tigard.

“I enjoy bringing the community along for the ride and sharing the creative process,” he said. “Everyone is an artist in their own way. We all just share it in different ways.”

The art will be in conjunction with two large gateway signs, similar to one on Southwest Burnham Street and Hall Boulevard.

Borello has a lot to achieve with his designs. City leaders said the pieces should reflect the downtown core as a “vibrant and active urban village at the heart of the community that is pedestrian-oriented, accessible by many modes of transportation, recognizes and uses natural resources as an asset and features a combination of uses that enable people to live, work, play and shop in an environment that is uniquely Tigard.”

“It’s this little oasis of downtown, that’s what I’ll be working with as I develop my ideas,” Borello said. “This idea that you have arrived at something significant and special.

“It’s a major transportation corridor, that transitions from a really high-use, high-automotive transit corridor to something more pedestrian scaled and more at a walking, slower speed. The design can hopefully augment the experience of getting out of your car and being in a mainstreet USA.”

Borello and city officials will meet in early January to discuss the project.

Final designs aren’t likely until sometime in the spring, Farrelly said.

The art pieces won’t be installed until after planned construction on Main Street wraps up. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2013 and could be completed by the end of the year, Farrelly said.




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