Public art was a key component in the revitalization of the Portland Transit Mall, thoroughfares for MAX trains and buses carrying people throughout the city.
Walking on SW 6th Avenue between SW Yamhill Street and West Burnside Street, along the Central Transit Mall, is a treat for public art lovers.
Most of the sculptures were created in 1977 for the original transit mall, then refurbished and re-sited together with new sculptures by 14 significant Northwest contemporary sculptors.
Below are six sculptures to visit. To learn more, go to TriMet’s Public Art page. We also recommend you download the PublicArtPDX App (OS only).
Animals in Pools
SW 6th Ave. and SW Yamhill St.: the creation of Georgia Gerber, the 1986 bronze sculptures were designed for you to sit, enjoy (some even cuddle), native wildlife of the Pacific Northwest. They are located on three sides of Pioneer Courthouse.
SW 6th Ave. and SW Morrison Street – the name of 1975 bronze by Norman Taylor means “nude woman” in Norwegian.
Daddy Long Legs
SW 6th Avenue and SW Stark St.: created in 2006 by Artist Mel Katz, the way the piece is painted, give the impression of long legs, thus the name.
Talos No. 2
SW 6th Ave. and SW Stark St.: James Lee Hansen’s sculpture is named for the ancient Greek mythical warrior, Tales, a giant warrior created from bronze to guard the Isle of Crete.
SW 6th Ave. and SW Oak St.: this John Buck 2000 Bronze, titled Lodge Grass, is described by TriMet as “A thistle and abstract shape suggesting a teepee reflected in water are substituted for a figure’s head and shoulders to symbolize a change in the historic west.”
SW 6th Ave. and SW Pine St.: Well-known NW Artist Lee Kelly created a sculpture with reflective surfaces to create changing visual effects in the changing seasons.
Burls Will Be Burls
SW 6th Ave. and W Burnside St. – Bruce Conkle’s bronze and concrete statue is a tribute to snowmen and two the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Conkle reportedly is making a point about climate change and how water from the melting snowman nourishes a tree.
PublicArtPDX is information-packed App which maps each public art location, provides background and a photo. Creator Matt Blair has developed an App masterpiece, so to speak. He explains each artwork in detail and includes photos. We have taken our own photos and researched various sources to explain the art. Follow our route, then enhance your walking adventure with Blair’s App or the TriMet link.