Saturday, September 20, 2014

NW 18th St. Plaza, Lincoln City

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Lincoln City, on the Oregon Coast, is a long, sprawling affair along US 101, with no particular city center to it. Today's city only formed in 1965 after a handful of adjacent beach towns consolidated, so it does have several small commercial districts here and there along the highway. The Oceanlake district is the closest the town has to a downtown, with a few blocks of one and two story midcentury retail buildings. Many of these storefronts are antique shops today, with a few restaurants and used book stores mixed in. It's not quite the trendy chi-chi area the city would prefer it to be, so in recent years they've put together an urban renewal plan for the neighborhood, to figure out how to make it a more attractive destination.

The city's glossy 2013 urban renewal guide describes the various projects they've undertaken to brighten up the area, including the subject of today's post, a little pedestrian plaza at NW 18th St. and US 101:

NW 18th Street was a “T” intersection with Highway 101 and presented access problems for drivers from the residential area. It also created problems when cars stopped in the highway waiting to make a left turn onto NW 18th.

The street was closed at the highway and a small public plaza was constructed. Paver stones were included the walking surface, benches were installed, electric power was provided and local merchants bought decorative flags to display periodically.

The location was a natural site for a public art piece and the Lincoln City Art Committee commissioned a local metal artist to create a four-panel piece set into a concrete bench, celebrating our views of Cascade Head.

The screen was created by local artist Don Wisener in 2008. I source I ran across once, but can't locate now, claimed the screen design was chosen so the art would double as a windbreak. I can't prove it because I can't find the original link anymore, but it would certainly be a sensible thing to do in this part of the world.

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