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Lake Oswego Seeks Proposals for Public Art Gateway

Posted by City of Lake Oswego ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
Lake Oswego Seeks Proposals for Public Art Gateway




The City of Lake Oswego, Oregon, through its agent, the Arts Council of Lake Oswego, seeks proposals for a commissioned public art gateway at Highway 43 and Terwilliger Boulevard. This project will produce a public art work to define the Northeastern gateway (entrance) into Lake Oswego.

Budget: $156,750
Eligibility: (none specified)
Deadline: 06/03/2019 5:00 PM Central Time

NOTE:  This opportunity requires applicants to design a proposed artwork without compensation as part of the application process. Review full RFP here for details and site photographs.

Project Description
This is an opportunity to be the first artist or artist team to create a public art gateway of a size and scale that has never before been done in the City of Lake Oswego.  This artwork will be a marker of boundary as people cross from one place into another and shall invoke a sense of place and be associated with the identity of Lake Oswego. The site is accessible from Highway 43 and Southwest Terwilliger Boulevard and is flanked by Tryon Creek State Park to the east and Tryon Cove Park to the west. Though accessible mainly by vehicular traffic, there are also bike and walking paths adjacent to the proposed site.

About Lake Oswego
Lake Oswego’s cultural and natural resources play an important part in shaping the character of the community today. With a population of about 40,000 (largest city in Clackamas County) Lake Oswego is a growing, vibrant, city located 10 miles south of Portland, Oregon. Demographics of the city include a median age of 45 to 70+, high discretionary incomes, active lifestyle, a love of travel, commitment to the community, and a higher education level. For detailed demographic information visit

In the Pacific region, residents have a higher than average attendance of visual arts programming as compared with other areas of the U.S. In Clackamas County, cultural tourism is a key economic driver and Lake Oswego is a leader in forging partnerships with the local arts community. The Arts Council of Lake Oswego administers the public art program (including this Gateway project), works with the City and community to select, site, and maintain the nationally recognized Gallery Without Walls sculpture program, maintains the City’s permanent art collection of over 250 works and provides accessible arts programming for the community.


This area has a rich history dating back long before the arrival of Lewis and Clark. Thousands of years ago the largest meteorite found in the U.S., known as the “Willamette Meteorite,” crashed into the Earth’s surface. The Clackamas Indians named it “Tamanowos” and in their traditions it is a revered spiritual being that has healed and empowered people of the Willamette Valley since the beginning of time. Indigenous peoples, including the Kalapuya, Clackamas, and Tualatins (among others) call this area between the Willamette and Tualatin Rivers home. The lush forests, rivers and prairies here provided a way of life with rich cultural food ways and traditions. Oswego Lake was once called “waluga,” (meaning swan) by some indigenous people because its waters were the home of wild swans.

The town of “Oswego” was founded in 1847. Originally from New York, the settlers named the town after one in their home state. “Oswego” derived from the Iroquois phrase “on ti ahan toque,” meaning “where the valley widens” or “flowing out.” Iron ore was discovered in the Tualatin Valley and in 1865 the Oregon Iron & Steel Company hoped to make Oswego the “Pittsburgh of the West.” The first iron smelter, in modern-day George Rogers Park, went into production in 1867.

At its height, the iron industry employed around 300 men. Chinese workers provided much of the labor. In 1890, production reached 12,305 tons of pig iron. Until 1886, when a railroad between Portland and Oswego was built, Oswego was a remote place reached only by river boats and narrow dirt roads. As a result the railroad brought in cheaper iron and steel from the Midwest and led to the decline of the iron industry in Oswego. With the water needs of the smelters tailing off, the recreational potential of the lake and town was freed to develop rapidly. In 1960, the name of the city was changed to Lake Oswego.

Project Goals and Scope

  • Design, fabricate and install an original iconic landmark art piece
  • Welcomes people into the City of Lake Oswego at Northeastern Gateway (without text)
  • Public art work shall be of substantial scale
  • Is a marker that invokes a sense of place
  • Is highly visible

Gateways are transitions between different areas of the community. By facilitating a sense of arrival, or departure, gateways also serve navigational and placemaking functions. The Northeastern Gateway, identified in the 2016-2021 Public Art Master Plan, will enhance Lake Oswego’s commitment to nurturing a creative and vibrant community and will help build the City’s reputation as an arts destination. This Gateway project is an opportunity for unconventional ideas for what can define a place.


Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces in their community. Strengthening the connection between people and the places they share, placemaking refers to a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value. The Arts Council invited community members to respond to “Arts Council of Lake Oswego Survey for Public Art Gateway” which consisted of two questions: What three words describe Lake Oswego? and What makes Lake Oswego Distinctive?

Site Specifications
At Highway 43 and Terwilliger Blvd. there are three proposed areas that could potentially be the home of the new Gateway piece. The image on the following page illustrates this. Artists should assess the three areas for their proposal, noting that a combination or all three areas could be used. Please note, existing structures and landscaping currently in these areas will be moved and/or relocated prior to art installation so as not to block artwork. The dimensions for those areas are as follows:

  • Area 1: is 35’ x 14’, 490 sq. ft.
  • Area 2: 35’ x 15’, 525 sq. ft.
  • Area 3: 20’ x 8’, 160 sq. ft.

Site constraints include (but are not limited to):

  • Space (Sq. Ft. noted above)
  • ODOT regulations
  • Piece cannot contain text
  • Any light from projected/lit pieces must not point into roadway
  • Nothing can be suspended over roadway (no arches)


  • June 3, 2019:  Application deadline
  • June – Sept.: Artist selection process: Review proposals, interviews, and committee meetings
  • Jul. 2019 – Sept. 2020: Art fabrication, transportation
  • Aug. 2019 – March 2020: Project site prep: Engineering, GeoTech, concrete, electrical, tree relocation, art relocation, and path relocation
  • Summer/fall 2020: Art installation
  • Spring 2021: Community celebration

Selection Process

The Selection Committee will screen the artists’ applications and may select 5 or more finalists who will be paid a modest design fee for an interview with the Art Selection Committee and presentation of conceptual design proposals. Contracts and final budgets will also be discussed at that time.

Selection Criteria

Proposals will be selected by committee consisting of regional art professionals and community members. Criteria for jurying proposals may include, but are not limited to:

  • Detail and completeness of proposal
  • Overall aesthetic of proposed artwork
  • Does it embody the vision?
  • Is it highly visible?
  • Does it enhance the community/Lake Oswego?
  • Does it invoke a sense of place?
  • Tourism and marketing potential
  • Suitability for outdoor permanent installation
  • Artist demonstrates/provides evidence of ability to follow through and meet deadlines
  • Media
  • Subject matter

What to Submit

  1. Concept statement for proposed piece (~2500 words): Why are you interested in proposing artwork for this project? Why should the City of Lake Oswego choose this proposal? What is the inspiration for this concept? How will you accomplish the proposed piece?
  2. Specify proposed site area(s) (1,2,3 or combination)
  3. Drawings/sketches/renderings (must be in digital form) of artwork concept should include: Materials/media for each portion, Scale and Dimensions, Color, Weight, Additional equipment/what’s needed to make it work (projection, lights, electricity, etc.). Pictures should show multiple angles/perspectives.
  4. Proposed budget allocations
  5. Proposed fabrication methods
  6. Resume/CV (if team, one for each team member)
  7. Previously completed public art (list)
  8. Artist website and/or social media
  9. 3 professional references with contact information (phone number and email)

How to Submit

Submit complete proposals, as a single PDF, titled [LastName_FirstName.pdf] to:, subject line “Gateway RFP” no later than 5pm PST on June 3, 2019. If the file is large, use a filesharing service ( preferred).

QUESTIONS?  Contact Stephanie Johnson, or 503-675-2531


2 comments Add yours

  1. Is there an eye level image of the entrance without the gateway structure and is it expected to be over the head as you walk or drive under, or is it going to be on the side of the street?
    Thank You,

    Bijan Masoumpanah


    • This question is more appropriately directed to the contact listed in the classified. Thank you!


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