A large crane carefully swung the woven metal arch over the trail. It was an early Saturday morning on Swan Island, and mist still hung in the hills across the Willamette River. City of Portland crews and the metal artist, Ean Eldred, guided one end of the arch onto its concrete pedestal. Cautiously, and with respect for the art piece, the crew in hard hats looked like they belonged on an industrial site as they pulled out tools to tightened the pieces together. One crew member motioned to the crane operator to give some slack, others twisted wrenches to tighten the Big Pipe Portal to its concrete base.
The pedestal concrete is made from sections of the Big Pipe, the massive sewer pipe running under the Willamette River from the west to the east, part of the Bureau of Environmental Services Combined Sewerage Overflow project. Some of the metal in the arch comes from rebar also used in the Big Pipe project. Designers with rhiz A+D, a Portland intradisiplinary design studio, successfully created the piece to make the Big Pipe visible. The diameter of the Big Pipe Portal is the same as the pipe under the Willamette River. Other elements of the twisting metal on the arch represent the current and eddies of the river. The sculpture was funded by a percent for art from constuction of the sewerage pump station on Swan Island.
For a dramatic effect, The Big Pipe Portal straddles an entry to the Greenway Trail on Swan Island. The arch will welcome trail walkers with a framed view of the river and west hills as they step onto the trail.
Thanks to the work by Bureau of Environmental Services, Portland Parks and Recreation and designers and artists rhiz A + D. http://www.rhizaplusd.com/ for this signature entry to the Greenway Trail on Swan Island.
Directions: Trail entrance on N Port Center Rd off of N Going St on Swan Island.