Gateways give new life to North Bend downtown

Kirk Derby buffs the new bronze finish on North Bend’s new gateway sculpture at Bendigo Boulevard. - Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Kirk Derby buffs the new bronze finish on North Bend’s new gateway sculpture at Bendigo Boulevard.
— image credit: Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record

Where garbage bins once greeted the eye, pillars of bronzed metal and red cedar now arc skyward on both ends of North Bend’s downtown block.

The city’s new sculptural gateways were installed Friday, Feb. 5, at Bendigo Boulevard and Main Avenue South near the Northwest Railway Museum train tracks.

Bendigo acts as the gateway to downtown for most visitors. But too often, the first glimpse they get of downtown is the trash containers and parking lots of the downtown alley.

North Bend artist Richard Burhans designed the pieces as an alternative to simply running a fence behind the alley. The sculptures, which echo the shape of distant Mount Si, drew plenty of looks from passersby and downtown business owners as they were raised.

“It does take your eye off the garbage cans, that’s for dang sure,” said Bill Kramer, owner of The Welding Shop in North Bend. He was part of the multi-business crew that manhandled the $27,000 installation into place. “It’s definitely going to solve that problem. It’ll attract quite a bit of attention.”

“It was dirty, there were just Dumpsters,” said Brittnie Ren, afternoon staffer at George’s Bakery. “It made it better.”

“It looks very nice,” said Loren Morris, an owner at Singletrack Cycles. “I definitely like what I see.”

The sculptures symbolize the strength and endurance of the pioneers who shaped North Bend from forests and mountain slopes, according to Burhans.

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