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Call LTD'S new tower functional, call it pretty, but don't call it ...

Byline: CITY BEAT/SPRINGFIELD By Joe Harwood The Register-Guard

SPRINGFIELD - Given the city's sometimes-tortured history with public art, Lane Transit District wants to make clear that the entry tower at its new Springfield Station is NOT, repeat, NOT art.

The tower is a landmark, according to Cosette Rees, a marketing representative for the district.

"It's primarily functional, but it's also pretty," Rees said.

It's not a water tower and is definitely not the remains of an abandoned oil drilling rig. And, with luck, it will not generate the controversy sparked a decade ago by the statue of a bird atop a handstanding gymnast atop a rhinoceros that graces the west side of City Hall.

Crews from John Hyland Construction will begin erecting the 30-foot tower at the north end of the South A Street LTD station's platform starting at about 7 a.m. today.

The tower will consist of a 25-foot steel pole on top of which will sit a large stainless steel funnel.

A series of steel rings and rods will provide additional support for the funnel.

Once the weather turns warmer for a sustained period of two or three days, crews will epoxy glass to the center pole, Rees said. The glass will be nonmolded, textured and translucent, she said.

"The stainless steel funnel will collect rain, and the steel pole in the middle will have thick ... glass," Rees said. "The beauty of that is the water will cascade down the glass and go into the platform garden."

The garden is in the middle of the platform area and collects storm water, which then flows through a bioswale to filter out pollutants before being discharged into the millrace, Rees said.

Rees said a design review committee made up of a dozen Springfield residents reviewed every aspect of the project.

Bus stations "are inherently flat with an expanse of concrete and an expanse of flat shelters," said Rees, who sat in on the 14 months' worth of design committee meetings.

"We were looking for something that would ... be a landmark so people would know where the station was from a block away," she said. The height will provide a visual offset to the flat roofs of the shelters, Rees said.

The primary design goal was to celebrate Springfield's history.

The committee considered three designs. A yarding tower - such as those used in timber harvesting operations - was considered too abstract, Rees said. The clock tower concept, familiar at transit stations across the country, didn't make the cut because the Eugene Station already has one.

"One concern the committee had was that this not be a small Eugene Station," she said.

"They wanted it to have its own identity and represent Springfield."

A big feature of Springfield is water - as in plenty of rain, the millrace and the two rivers, Rees said. Hence the rain funnel design.

Rees said the tower will be lighted from the bottom so it can feature different looks for day and night.

Cost for the tower, designed by Eugene-based WBGS Architecture & Planning, is between $90,000 and $95,000.

Under Oregon law, public agencies must spend a portion of a project's cost on art. At the Springfield station, the art consists of a mural on the west side of the station, and smaller murals and mosaics at the project.

CAPTION(S):

Artist's rendering of the new entry tower for Springfield Station. The 30-foot tower features a stainless steel funnel.
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Title Annotation:Government
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 26, 2005
Words:573
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