The ongoing public art tour visits the east side again, with a stop at line.plane.object, a temporary art installation at East Burnside & MLK, on the odd-shaped chunk of land created by the Burnside-Couch Couplet a few years ago. The project's Wordpress blog (where the previous link goes) explains the project a bit more, and shows additional objects that were either gone when I dropped by (due to the whole temporary thing) or were there and I just didn't notice them (which happens to me a lot).
It wasn't so long ago that this part of town resembled Detroit from the Robocop movies. You just didn't want to go there at any time, day or night. East Burnside's become a hip (though still a bit edgy) neighborhood in recent years, and this spot is supposed to be part of the long-delayed Burnside Bridgehead project someday. In the meantime, the Portland Development Commission is sponsoring art projects like the one you see here, similar to what they did at Block 47 across from the Convention Center. This is the point where I make a not-terribly-original observation about artists and hipsters serving as the vanguard of gentrification, raising the tone of the area and making it safe for upscale condo buyers.
That said, I do like the pieces here, taken on their own merits. Whoever selects art projects at the PDC seems to know what they're doing, or at least they have a feel for what the Right Sort of Art is. Tasteful abstraction is a good thing; a giant gold animatronic statue of Rush Limbaugh would probably be a bad thing, and would almost certainly attract the wrong sort of condo buyer to the neighborhood. Sorry, I honestly thought I was done being snarky, but talk about the PDC just sort of inspires that reaction in me. So in conclusion let me just say the area's interesting right now; nice, but not too nice. But in a few years it'll be crawling with retired Boomers from the Bay Area, people who care about aligning their chakras and finding the perfect $500 cabernet to the exclusion of just about everything else. At which point the neighborhood will be perfectly safe and pleasant and terribly boring. You might as well go and have a look around before that happens.