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A Sneak Peek at Public Art Coming to Hillsboro

Post Date:01/14/2020

Norie Sato and Opsis architect Isaac Harris study material choicesHillsboro’s Public Art collection continues to grow, with new artwork being created for the 53rd Avenue Community Center, Rood Bridge Park, and the Hillsboro Community Senior Center. Here’s a sneak peek of the artwork to come…

Norie Sato designs for 53rd Avenue Community Center

Building a centrally located community center has long been a Hillsboro City Council priority, and the new center now under construction adjacent to 53rd Avenue Community Park is right in the center of the city. It will provide gymnasiums, fitness facilities, classrooms, and multi-purpose gathering spaces. This first class facility will bring families, friends, and neighbors together in place that is accessible, inclusive, and affordable.

The artwork for the center hopes to express a welcoming, vibrant, and inclusive spirit to all who enter the center. An art selection committee, comprised of representatives of the Hillsboro Parks & Recreation Commission, Hillsboro Arts & Culture Council, staff, and designers, reviewed the work of a wide range of experienced artists and selected Norie Sato of Seattle. She has visited the construction site and met with the architects to see how her work can complement the building design.

Travis Stewart and model of Wapato WomanThe architecture of the center is rooted in the wooded character of the site. The dark, textured exterior evokes bark, encasing the luminous wood of the structure and interiors. The construction features cross laminated timber (CLT), engineered wood panels made from gluing layers of solid wood together, creating a stronger and more sustainable material.

Sato is developing her concepts and will be presenting them to the committee late in the year. With their approval, she will complete fabrication and installation in the fall of 2020 in anticipation of the opening of the center in 2021.

Wapato Woman by Travis Stewart

The Tualatin River is one of the many waterways used by Native Americans in the Tualatin Valley. Paddling the rivers in cedar canoes, they harvested many crops, including wapato, a native plant that grows in very wet soils and forms edible tubers that were a staple of the Native American diet. Women usually gathered wapato by wading in shallow waters and dislodging the tubers with their feet. The bulbs would float to the surface and be collected to be eaten raw, cooked or dried and ground into flour. Wapato is planted in Rood Bridge and other parks as part of native plant restoration.

The Tualatin River access at Rood Bridge Park was improved two years ago with a watercraft launch site that is safer and more accessible to boaters. To reinforce the importance of Native American heritage in our area, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde were asked to designate a Tualatin language name for the launch.

The Grand Ronde language team suggested “chamámptu” (pronounced chu-momp-too or tcha-MAHMP-too) which means wapato place in Tualatin.

Grand Ronde artist Travis Stewart has designed a sculpture of Wapato Woman to overlook the river from the slope behind River House. Wapato Woman has a skirt with the characteristic arrow shaped leaves of the plant, and her face is carved of red cedar in Columbia River style. We look forward to Wapato Woman inaugurating the start of the boating season in May 2020.

Beaudreux by Brian MockScrappy by Brian Mock to Welcome Visitors to Hillsboro Community Senior Center

With the renovations at Hillsboro Community Senior Center complete, the finishing touch is art. Manager Paula Stewart wanted art that communicated a sense of welcome and acceptance of everyone that characterizes the center. Local artist Brian Mock was selected for his unique creations that are meticulously welded from scrap metal. Teaspoons, wrenches, gears, and eclectic souvenirs are transformed into a larger sculpture. Mock’s sculpture is a perfect way to carry the message of re-use and recycle, and also the powerful intrigue of old objects having a new life.

For the Senior Center, one of Mock’s friendly dogs was chosen as the perfect greeter and mascot for the center. The artist and his wife came to lunch at the Center, met patrons and invited them to contribute scrap metal for the project. They responded with enthusiasm, bringing in tubs of gleanings from the “junk drawer.” Patrons also suggested names, including clever options like “Rin Tin Tin,” but the overwhelming favorite was “Scrappy.” Early next year, Scrappy will be waiting to welcome you to the Senior Center.

Keep an eye out for more details about these and other upcoming public art projects at

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