The City of Wilsonville and the West Linn-Wilsonville School District are sponsoring a public dedication event to commemorate completion of the “Beauty & the Bridge” student art project that was a component of the larger I-5/Wilsonville Road interchange improvement.
Sponsored by Fred Meyer stores, the event is to be held on Sunday, October 7, 2012, 12 Noon – 1:30 p.m., at Old Town Square plaza, located in the northwest corner of the shopping center near Qdoba and Subway (30060 SW Boones Ferry Road).
A variety of community leaders, school district officials, project managers, art instructors and students will speak at the event. Fred Meyer stores will provide cupcakes to the first 500 children to attend the event; nearby merchants plan to provide product samples to showcase their businesses to the community. Qdoba and Subway each plan to offer 20% of non-discounted sales on October 7 to Music and Arts Partners (MAP), the primary arts-support group for local public schools.
Attendees are encouraged to consider car-pooling or to ride or walk to the event; parking may be tight. City staff will be wearing bright orange vests to help monitor cross-walk traffic as attendees walk from the nearby plaza to the interchange underpass.
During the past two years, over 1,000 students of Wilsonville public schools participated in the research, design and hand-painting of approximately 5,000 tiles that illustrate local flora and fauna. Located on the underpass abutment walls of Interstate 5 as it bridges over Wilsonville Road, “Beauty & the Bridge” was allocated $800,000 of the total projected $21.5 million interchange improvement cost.
The Wilsonville City Council was concerned that the major expansion of the I-5/Wilsonville Road interchange could produce an automobile-dependent travel corridor unwelcoming and inhospitable to those travelers who may seek to walk or bike along one of the community’s primary connecting arterials.
Wilsonville Mayor Tim Knapp said, “The City is most proud to have partnered with the school district on this rather monumental project. The Wilsonville Road I-5 underpass has been transformed this summer from drab, gray concrete bulkheads to bright, colorful murals of students’ hand-painted tiles showing scenes of nature. What a great way to celebrate the wonderful community where we are most fortunate to live or work — and to distinguish ourselves by showing Wilsonville’s special character to residents and visitors as they enter our city.”
School District Board Chair Keith Steele said, “Beauty & the Bridge became more than another public-works project; it served as an excellent example of a project-based curriculum with students learning about art and the local environment — and also learning about transportation issues, engineering requirements and public-works standards. What started as an ‘art project’ became an overall civics lesson.”
Wilsonville High School Art Instructor Christopher Shotola-Hardt said that, “Students took this project very seriously, pain-stakingly researching and sketching in detail local plants and animals. The community’s children should be proud of what has been accomplished — and so should we.”
Cynthia Thompson, principal of BCB Consulting who served as Beauty & the Bridge project manager, agreed that, “The students really took ownership of this rather large project. There is a real sense of accomplishment by all the students involved, from primary school to high school.”
“The City and County owe a great deal to the leaders of Fred Meyer stores, whose architectural team for Old Town Square provided the initial design for a decorated, raised pedestrian and bikeway separated from automobile lanes,” said Clackamas County Board of Commissioners Chair and former Wilsonville Mayor Charlotte Lehan, who championed the project while on City Council. “Now there are attractive, safe routes for walkers and bicyclists under I-5 along one of the primary arterials that connects both sides of this vibrant Clackamas County community.”
For more information on the “Beauty & the Bridge” I-5 Interchange student art project, see www.BeautyAndTheBridge.com
Also, during October, which is National Arts and Humanities Month, all three Wilsonville Subway locations will donate 10% of non-discounted sales to MAP when patrons mention MAP and have a MAP flyer or City October Boones Ferry Messenger newsletter.
Note: Police and public works staff recommended that the event be held as early as possible on a Sunday as the best day of the week to hold a public event near the interchange due to noise and safety concerns.