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Sculptures to dress up North Bend gateways

A model of the new downtown gateway sculpture planned in North Bend shows vertical metal rods and cedar slabs. The shape will direct views up to Mount Si. - Courtesy photo
A model of the new downtown gateway sculpture planned in North Bend shows vertical metal rods and cedar slabs. The shape will direct views up to Mount Si.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

With the beauty of Mount Si overhead, visitors to North Bend's downtown should be greeted by something better than trash bins and parking lots down below.

That's the idea behind two new public art installations in North Bend's downtown gateway, which will mask the industrial side of downtown and direct visitors' gaze up to Mount Si.

The $27,000 project by the city of North Bend, masterminded by Valley artist and designer Richard Burhans, will place artworks in wood and bronzed steel at Bendigo Boulevard and Main Avenue South where the Northwest Railway Museum train tracks intersect.

The steel and cedar roughly mirror the shape at Mount Si, and symbolize the strength and endurance of the pioneers who shaped North Bend from forests and mountain slopes, Burhans said.

"These sculptures will represent a continuation of the principle, ‘The Arts in North Bend Are Alive and Growing,’" Burhans said.

Sixteen foot steel rods in the design will direct passersby's views to Si, while cedar slabs within the sculpture reflect local logging history and provide a play of light, according to Burhans. A pattern of tumbled rock at the base pays tribute to area rivers. Many times throughout the year, the sculpture will be silhouetted by the moon over Mount Si, he said.

"We're hoping to dress up our gateways to the downtown core, so visitors, whether they're coming from the train or on Bendigo, (will) focus on the mountain and our amenities," said Gina Estep, North Bend's Community & Economic Development Director. "This feature is intended to draw the eye up, over the service area, and to our mountain, really giving visitors a warm welcome."

Work will be done by a contractor and is expected to be completed this fall.

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