March for Our Lives and a hunt for rare art

WegmanDogBowl

Today, we’re taking the kids down to the March for Our Lives, which kicks of in the North Park Blocks. While we’re there, we hope to take in one of Portland’s most obscure pieces of public art … if we can find it.

The Oregonian’s Randy Gragg describes, the easy-to-miss sculpture in a 2002 review:

Wegman’s “Portland Dog Bowl” is composed of nothing more than a checkerboard pattern of granite pavers topped by a large, bronze dog bowl, a takeoff on the standard-issue, kitchen-floor, dog-watering spot that Wegman intends to echo Portland’s iconic Benson Bubblers.

Barely the size of a grave plot, the fountain, as a work of art, is pretty meager, to say the least. But as a symbol of its times it gains a richer patina of irony.

“Portland Dog Bowl” is the first permanent sculpture to be placed on the North Park Blocks. As a study of patronage, it offers a fascinating counterpoint to its southern cousins — the bronzes of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and the bird fountain, “Rebecca at the Well” — standing on the South Park Blocks between the Portland Art Museum, the Oregon History Center and the Arlington Club. Those sculptures arrived, courtesy of ’20s-era civic patrons, fulfilling a plea by the Portland Planning Commission to beautify the city.

By contrast, the funding of “Portland Dog Bowl” was offered as salve to the neighborhood wounds. Nearly 90 percent of the funding for “Portland Dog Bowl” arrived from Fowler Flanagan Technology Partners. The company ponied up the money after winning a fight for a project the Pearl District Neighborhood loathed: remodeling the historic Meier & Frank warehouse at Northwest Irving Street and 14th Avenue as a giant telecommunications switching center with a generator farm next door.

That Meier & Frank warehouse at Northwest Irving Street?

It’s now home to Vestas, with Gerding Edlen and Urban Airship subleasing space. The building was sold earlier this year to Deutsche Asset Management for about $70 million.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *