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TriMet: Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project Public Art Opportunities
710 NE Holladay
Portland, OR 97232

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Call Type: Unspecified
Eligibility: Unspecified
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Entry Deadline: 8/20/11
Application Closed
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Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project Public Art Opportunities
Portland, OR

TriMet invites qualified artists to apply for public art commissions for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project. Up to seven (7) professional, established artists/artist teams will be selected to create major works for new light rail stations, adjacent station areas and at other significant locations along the alignment. Emerging public artists from the Pacific Northwest are also encouraged to apply to be short listed for future additional opportunities. Applications that do not meet these criteria will not be reviewed. A budget of over $3,000,000 has been established for public art commissions on the project.

In 1992, TriMet initiated the Public Art Program with the Westside extension of the MAX Blue Line. The agency formalized its commitment to art in 1997 by establishing a policy to integrate public art into all new, large-scale capital projects. Project specific art programs are funded at 1.5% of eligible project costs and guided by volunteer art advisory committees comprised of artists, arts professionals and community members. Since its inception, works by over 175 artists have been added to the expanding bus and light rail system.

The goal of TriMet’s Public Art Program is to promote increased transit usage and community pride by integrating permanent and temporary art work into the public transit system, which celebrate the contribution of public transportation and recognize the cultural richness in the region.

The quality of life in the Portland region is the result of visionary long-term urban planning. By connecting land use and transportation, the Portland region has become a national model for maintaining and creating vibrant communities. Greater Portland is expected to experience significant growth during the next two decades and the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail (PMLR) Project is a vital transportation link in the region’s roadmap for continued growth management and building livable communities for future generations.

The new 7.3-mile PMLR line will have 10 stations and approximately 1,400 Park & Ride spaces. Extending from downtown Portland through inner SE Portland to the city of Milwaukie and Oak Grove in unincorporated Clackamas County, the alignment will run primarily at grade (i.e., street level). It includes a new bridge across the Willamette River that will be unique among American bridges because it will only serve public transit, bicycles and pedestrians. There are additional other elevated structures that cross over numerous bodies of water, roads and freight rail lines. The project is partially federally funded.

While the primary goal of the project is to provide efficient and sustainable transit options, it also presents opportunities to make related improvements and add significant design features that connect neighborhoods, encourage pedestrian activity and bicycle use, and create engaging public spaces where people want to be.

Design of the project is currently 30% complete. Final Design is anticipated to begin in fall 2010 and will continue through early 2012. Construction of the alignment is estimated to begin in summer 2012, however the building of the Willamette River Bridge is scheduled to begin in 2011. The new light rail MAX line is projected to open in 2015.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to view the Conceptual Design Report and visual simulations, as well as other extensive project materials available online at:

TriMet will continue its commitment to public art with the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project working in collaboration with project partners, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Clackamas County Arts Alliance and the communities along the alignment.

Station platform artwork will address the more intimate experience of patrons with site-specific imagery on shelter columns and on neighborhood “story boards” at each station, in a separate, but parallel effort that will coordinate with station area artwork.

Significant public art opportunities exist at the following locations:

Clinton Street Station
On the site of a former fruit-tree grove, the area immediately surrounding the new Clinton Street station is largely comprised of industrial/commercial uses and bisected by the Union Pacific Railroad, with the Hosford-Abernethy residential neighborhoods extending to the north and the east, and the Brooklyn neighborhood to the south of the station and Powell Boulevard. The new station will present opportunities to help connect these active, urban, inner southeast neighborhoods. The station is located near the crossroads of three major arterials, but will have little visibility from these streets, and is also immediately adjacent to the existing Union Pacific Railroad.

In this very dynamic location, there is an opportunity for several illuminated, large-scale, vertical works to provide a strong visual connection to the station, as well as enhancements to a proposed new pedestrian bridge south of the station. Works that reference the past and future of the site using an innovative combination of old industrial and new century materials may be desirable.

SE 17th Avenue Corridor
This corridor is characterized by the Brooklyn neighborhood’s residential and commercial properties to the west of the alignment and an industrial “sanctuary” to the east. A new pedestrian bridge east of the Rhine Street station will provide an improved connection in the neighborhood, replacing an existing one that spans the Brooklyn Rail Yard. The Holgate Boulevard station area has similar characteristics to those of the Rhine Street Station, but is situated at a gateway location at the southeast corner of the Brooklyn neighborhood’s residential core, providing east/west connections through this area. Properties east of the Holgate Boulevard station include TriMet’s bus staging area and maintenance facility.

The opportunity exists for a series of sequential works that interact with, or are part of, the green street enhancements along SE 17th Avenue, such as topiaries, or organic ephemeral works. An illuminated vertical beacon or landmark could assist with way-finding in the Rhine Street station area, since the view of the station platform from the pedestrian bridge (and vice versa) may be partially obscured. The pedestrian bridge also presents an opportunity for integrated art.

Bybee Boulevard Station
The Bybee Boulevard station area is largely characterized by the verdant landscape created by Westmoreland Park, Eastmoreland Golf Course, Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden and the mature trees that line McLoughlin Boulevard. Reed College is approximately a half-mile northeast of the station. The Willamette River, Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and the Springwater Corridor multi-use trail are due west of the station. In this location the platform is below the Bybee Boulevard overpass, which is a newer structure that reflects the historic architecture of the original bridge. Access to the platform will be via stairwells and elevators on each side of the overpass. A gated enclosure for long-term bicycle parking at the platform level will support connections by bicycle.

Numerous opportunities exist at this station for works of a highly-crafted, human-scale that engage patrons in an introspective manner and thematically link to the natural setting or watershed restoration. Designs for small scale sculptures on the platform, platform paving inserts and elevator glass treatments will be closely coordinated with station platform artwork.

Tacoma Street Station
Imbued with a long history of industrial uses dating back to the mid 1880s, the Tacoma Street station area is mostly comprised of industrial and commercial uses, with residences nearby. The Eastmoreland Golf Course and neighborhood extend north of the station, the Westmoreland and Sellwood neighborhoods sit across McLoughlin Boulevard to the west, and the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek neighborhood extends to the east. Johnson Creek flows through the site and runs just north of the future station platform. The creek area will be enhanced with riparian vegetation that can be viewed from the station platform, and water quality impacts of the creek crossing will be minimized through storm water management design. A Park & Ride facility is located south of the station platform and north of the county line between the cities of Portland and Milwaukie.

Public art at this location should celebrate and strengthen the connection to Johnson Creek, as well as educate the public about the watershed. The potential exists to site numerous small scale sculptures, such as those that support bird or bat habitat, throughout the transitional zones of the site. The Park & Ride provides an opportunity to consider limited exterior screening of the structure. Enhanced interior way-finding graphics could offer an additional way to further connect patrons with the creek.

Downtown Milwaukie – Lake Rd Station
The station will be the southern anchor to Main Street in Milwaukie’s downtown, a classic small town environment that includes historic buildings, active businesses and a growing number of residents. The station is surrounded by established residential neighborhoods, Kellogg Creek and Riverfront Park on the Willamette River. The light rail alignment through this segment runs adjacent to the east side of the freight railroad, which sits between downtown Milwaukie and the Historic Milwaukie and Lake Road neighborhoods. This presents some unusual opportunities and challenges since the light rail platforms will be adjacent to freight tracks on one side and to a small triangular site of developable land on the other. The freight tracks also create a barrier between the platform area and the adjacent land and activity to the west, which has been identified as a future plaza in the South Downtown plan. Improvements made by the project will be consistent with the guidelines and principles in Milwaukie’s Downtown Plan, Public Area Requirements and Downtown Design Guidelines. Additionally the project design will be coordinated with the City’s ongoing work to refine the plans for the South Downtown and the restoration of Kellogg Creek.

Artists interested in this very complex site should be prepared to honor the historic character of downtown Milwaukie while celebrating its current revitalization. Opportunities exist to collaborate on the station design and to either integrate works into the design, create stand alone works or both. Evidence of design team participation and community involvement, including the ability to interact with and facilitate the participation of local schools, will be required.

Kellogg Creek Bridge
Kellogg Creek is located between downtown Milwaukie and the Island Station neighborhood, and is included in the Willamette Greenway zone. There is an existing dam on the creek that the City of Milwaukie plans to remove, opening up seven miles of riparian habitat for Coho salmon and other fish species. The bridge crosses over Kellogg Creek and SE McLoughlin Boulevard, presenting opportunities to strengthen connections between the Downtown Milwaukie light rail station, Kronberg Park and the Island Station neighborhood to the south. The elevated concrete/steel structure, can also serve as a landmark where it crosses over Kronberg Park, the Trolley Trail and SE River Road.

Since the design of the bridge is still under development, the opportunity exists for artwork that is integrated into the structure or for other artwork that furthers the community and project aspirations to create a new, attractive portal into downtown Milwaukie and the Island Station neighborhood. Artwork should also consider the adjacency of the Trolley Trail, a six-mile linear park.

Park Avenue Station
The Park Avenue station is at the located at the intersection of McLoughlin Boulevard (Highway 99E) and Park Avenue, at the gateway to the Oak Grove community in unincorporated Clackamas County. The station area is mostly comprised of single-family residential neighborhoods, with commercial /industrial uses south of the station. The Trolley Trail, a developing regional bicycle and pedestrian artery, runs along the west side of the alignment from the Kellogg Creek Bridge to the light rail station and Park & Ride. Following an old streetcar line, the six-mile Trolley Trail will connect with the Springwater Corridor to create a 20-mile loop that encompasses the tri-county area. Metro has awarded a Nature in Neighborhoods Capital Grant to fund a comprehensive plan to create an enhanced riparian forest at the site which could become a model for integrating ecosystem restoration within a highly built environment and multi-modal transportation network.

Artwork at this station will be informed by the guidelines of the Trolley Trail Public Art Guide
( and interface the Nature in Neighborhoods efforts. This site presents the opportunity to create a large-scale work for the developing plaza, with the possibility to include smaller works throughout the site or along the Trolley Trail. Limited external screening could occur on the Park & Ride and enhanced interior graphics could provide way-finding and promote environmental literacy.

All artwork for the transit system must be durable, vandal resistant, low maintenance and contribute to a sense of safety and security. Artwork should demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the physical characteristics of the site, including the existing natural resources. It should promote and enhance urban design objectives by exhibiting thoughtful consideration of the human experience of transit users and neighborhood communities. In addition to the goal of inspiring civil discourse, artwork along the alignment should be innovative while encouraging connectivity, stewardship and sustainability.

While a specific scope of work will be drafted for each selected artist, artists should be prepared to:

1. Participate in the project orientation and tour
2. Review site plans and engineering drawings
3. Respond to existing design criteria and identified potential locations for artwork
4. Attend station design sessions with the project design team
5. Review provided site history; research social and physical geographies
6. Participate in community meetings as needed
7. Develop and present concepts and final designs to the PAAC, including budgets and
8. Provide digital graphic images and a half-page narrative for TriMet to use in public
9. Develop a plan for art-related projects with adjacent schools, if requested
10. Participate in Technical Reviews with TriMet staff
11. Attend a pre-installation meeting with the construction contractor
12. Fabricate and deliver artwork
13. Oversee artwork installation
14. Complete a Permanent Record form for the artwork.

Budgets are all-inclusive, covering all costs for artist fees, travel, insurance, engineering, fabrication, shipping, installation oversight and related administrative expenses. Installation is provided by the construction contractor, unless otherwise negotiated. Approximate budgets for the commissions are as follows:

1. Clinton Street Station - $250,000
2. SE 17th Avenue Corridor - $300,000
3. Bybee Boulevard Station - $175,000
4. Tacoma Street Station - $250,000
5. Downtown Milwaukie/Lake Rd Station - $250,000
6. Kellogg Creek Bridge - $250,000
7. Park Avenue Station - $250,000

TriMet has a two-phased contracting process initiated with a design contract. Additional contract phases are dependent upon design and funding approval. The boilerplate artist contract is available upon request.

Professional established artists/artist teams living in the United States are eligible to submit an application in response to this Request for Qualifications (RFQ). Applicants must have successfully completed several large-scale, outdoor public art projects with at least one project having a budget over $100,000.

Emerging public artists/artist teams from the Pacific Northwest are also encouraged to apply for short list status. The shortlist will be used to draw from as new opportunities arise and will proceed through the same selection review process. Artists will be informed of shortlist status. Additional materials or information may be requested of applicants as specific new opportunities occur.


Applications for this project will be accepted through the CaFÉ on line call for entry service at Applications must include:

1. Confirmation of application type - established or emerging artist (check box)

2. Statement of relevant public art experience, aesthetic and conceptual approach; past public involvement experience and availability to meet the demanding project schedule; if stating a site preference, please include rationale

3. Resume, including applicable project budgets (1-2 pages)

4. Eight (8) digital images of past work

5. Three professional references including name, title, organization, email address and telephone number.

If you need assistance using the CaFÉ system, please email or call 888-562-7232, Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm MST.

The PMLR Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC) will review application materials and select artists. The criteria used by the committee include:

• Artistic merit in both conceptual approach and technical execution as evidenced by past work
• Documented experience with comparable projects
• Demonstrated ability to complete the work within a given time and budget
• Professional qualifications and references

Up to two semi-finalists per opportunity may be selected for interviews. The PAAC may also elect to solicit paid proposals from semi-finalists or combine opportunities. Consideration will be given to artist’s site preferences, but final decisions regarding assignments will be made by the PAAC and TriMet staff. The committee is not required to select an artist from among the applicants.

TriMet supports equal economic opportunity and toward that end, has established a high benchmark for the participation of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) in the PMLR project. Selected artists who qualify, such as minorities or women, will be strongly encouraged to register in the DBE program.

Artists must be prepared to respond promptly and meet multiple deadlines. Critical to the success of the first phase of the project is the integration of artist concept designs into the 60% Final Design and Civil Engineering documents.

The anticipated schedule for artist selection:

Applications due: August 20, 2010

Artist selection: September 15

Artist notification: week of September 20

Artist orientation and tour: September 30

Concept presentations begin: November 17

PMLR Project Milestones:
60% Final Design ----------- Spring 2011
90% Final Design ----------- Fall 2011
100% Final Design --------- Spring 2012
Civil construction begins --- Summer 2012
Artwork Installation --------- Fall 2014 – Summer 2015
Open for revenue service -- Fall 2015

This schedule is subject to change.


Mark Annen – Architect/Artist (Brooklyn)
Christine Bourdette – Visual artist (South Portland Neighborhood Association)
Kristin Calhoun – Public Art Manager, Regional Arts and Culture Council
Jef Gunn – Artist/PNCA Instructor (Brooklyn)
Alicia Hamilton – Arts Advocate (Milwaukie)
Bob Hastings – TriMet Agency Architect (South Waterfront)
Eleanore Hunter – Oak Lodge Community Council Chair (Oak Grove)
Matt Menely – Owner, inner SE small business (Milwaukie)
Gary Michael – Architect/Artist (Milwaukie)
Cheryl Snow (Chair) – Executive Director, Clackamas County Arts Alliance

QUESTIONS: Michelle Traver, Public Art Coordinator, 503.962.2159 or

NOTE: applications in CaFE™ close at Midnight (11:59:59 pm), Mountain time on the day of the deadline.

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