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Wednesday 01.15.14

« Willam Pope L.'s Claim | Main | Paul Clay's Leda and the Swan »

Bridge Names Not Bold

Well I am not surprised that the Trimet panel didn't shortlist Rothko for the transit/pedestrian bridge name and a lot of people will be disappointed. Perhaps Rothko as a name was doomed by the need of the panel to be unanimous? No panel can ever be convened that will return a unanimous verdict on Rothko... or any artist of any sort of greatness.

Being Jewish and an immigrant didn't help Rothko either (Portlanders do have a bias, see William Pope L's new show at PSU). Not disappointed though, it brought Portland's allergy to acknowledging greatness ( old school arch-regionalist and anti-immigrant bias [read the comments]) in its midst to the fore of people's minds. All great artists are polarizing and unanimous panels don't reward that kind of frisson, despite the fact that Rothko grew up in the Bridge's neighborhood and painted the site repeatedly. These biases cannot be overcome overnight but I will call out anyone who proliferates them. The less navel-gazing, more worldly Portland that has taken hold here isn't playing checkers, it is a chess match.


Thoughts on the bridge name options?

Cascadia - is incredibly weak consensus building panel process detritus name.

Abigail Scott Duniway - is a strong contender as a woman and a women's suffrage advocate. Like all of the names on this list, her name is attached to other structures as well.

Tillicum - "Bridge of the people" in a native tongue, it has a feel good generic quality that got it this far. Not bad, not exciting.

Wy'east - native tongue name for Mt. Hood, which architect Donald MacDonald used in his design language. Not bad, not exciting.

What we have learned but already knew... convening a panel = least offensive denominator. I know for a fact that the panel even had at least one person of Jewish background on the panel so its not like it was a deal breaker but a unanimous panel will always return less bold results.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 15, 2014 at 11:38 | Comments (1)


What about the bridge name Lisa in reference to Lisa Simpson?
She is a smart, young, contemporary, environmental Portlander.

That or World Naked Bridge Ride get my vote.

Posted by: Sam [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 17, 2014 12:30 PM

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