Completion Date: Mid-2015 • Portland, OR • Collaboration with Peg Butler

These two projects are intended to create a public discourse and highlight a sense of stewardship that serves the natural systems, commerce, and cultural vitality of the local area along the entire alignment. They draw upon Portland’s ethic of civic engagement, its diverse creativity and sustainable public transportation efforts with a public call for poetic writings that will be incorporated onto the temporary Orange Lining and later transformed into permanent Concrete Poetry Impressions, an episodic and lasting impression of the times. The poetic text will be a civic ‘thinking out loud’ and consist of ideas, insights, remembrances, observations, wishes, and salutations that express civic-minded ideas of context and conveyance along the alignment.

The ‘stage’ for Orange Lining will be the construction zones along the alignment and the intent is to intrigue pedestrians and motorists who travel alongside these impacted areas. Orange Lining provides an opportunity for travelers to experience creative ideas and insights while construction is in progress, possibly lessening frustrations that can result from long construction processes. Orange Lining, a metaphorical equivalent to a ‘silver lining,’ provides elements of surprise and interest, redeeming aspects in a potentially trying situation. It offers an ‘art starts now’ attitude to ameliorate the difficulty of living with construction activity and creates a philosophical conversation to usher in the coming public amenity.

During construction, orange silt fencing, typically used at construction sites to prevent soil from eroding into adjacent waterways, will double as a surface for presenting short concise writings along the seven-mile alignment. The Contractor will provide us with rolls of the typical 36” high, project-specified, orange silt fencing as required. We will return the fencing back to the Contractor, complete with 17” high poetic text printed onto it, for the Contractor to place as needed (a chance sharing of the role of curator and installer between Artist and Contractor).

For the segments of the alignment on the east side of the river, we will be receiving silt fabric from the Contractor that we will print onto and return to them for their installation as needed; a gesture of give and take and chance placement (the preferred method). We will also be applying text onsite in selected locations where the silt fencing, without text, has been installed by the Contractor. Because of the project timeline on the west side of the river, it may be that the majority of west side text will be applied onsite in locations where the Contractor has placed text-free, silt fabric.

Outstanding and memorable examples of poetic thinking generated from the Orange Lining phase of the project will eventually be ‘set in stone’ during the Concrete Poetry Impressions phase. Writings will be stamped into freshly laid concrete sidewalks by the same concrete tradespeople who are building the streets and walkways along the seven-mile alignment. Stamping street names in concrete is a function of civic hospitality to facilitate wayfinding that is commonly found in sidewalks and curbs at intersections throughout the neighborhoods where the Orange Line traverses. We are borrowing this utilitarian process, the act of setting impressions in fresh concrete, to mark the expressions of a specific time in history and acknowledge the civic beauty of this grand infrastructure project.

© 2009-2015 Buster Simpson & Peg Butler

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Site Design by Todd Metten

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