By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Don’t you hate it when your Blind Date gets moved to a different location?
Members of the Keizer Public Arts Commission (KPAC) believe a move will be good.
Blind Date, by the way, is the name of the art sculpture currently in front of Copper Creek Mercantile on River Road.
At their meeting in late January, KPAC members voted to move the sculpture since it’s too small to adequately fill the large pad in front of the store.
After some discussion of potential locations, KPAC members agreed with Lore Christopher’s suggestion to move Blind Date to the focal point, also known as McGee-Newton Park or the Keizer Corner at the corner of Chemawa and River Roads where the fountain is.
The KPAC motion was forwarded to the Keizer City Council. Councilors unanimously agreed with the recommendation at their Feb. 1 meeting.
No timeline was mentioned during either meeting. Nate Brown, director of Community Development for Keizer, said on Tuesday the move would happen as soon as Keizer Public Works sets a new pad at the planter area of Focal Point.
Blind Date was one of several sculptures put up around town last year as a new commitment to public art in the city. The one attracting the most attention was the large Bouchers diamond ring. Due to fears the ring could be construed as advertising, the sculpture was put in front of Sonic’s Drive-In further south along River Road, a placement Christopher sharply disagreed with.
While KPAC members liked the placement of most sculptures, a concern arose over Blind Date being too small for its location. At recent meetings KPAC members have gone over pictures of other potential sites before making their decision at the Jan. 26 meeting.
Focal point was eliminated as one of the possible sites due to how many other things are at the location, especially in the summer when signs for events at Keizer Rapids Park are put up. Space in front of Shari’s, right across River Road, was also considered.
Brown pushed for focal point.
“Focal point, I think, could use some public art,” Brown said.
Christopher initially had her reservations and was leaning towards the space in front of Shari’s.
“I don’t think it’s a bad spot,” she said. “My problem with Keizer Corner is the flags and the fountain are right there.”
Brown argued something was missing, however.
“But we don’t have any public art there,” he said. “We do have the fountain, true. But there’s nothing like public art there. The other corner has the (land deed) monument already.”
Brown said the new owners of Schoolhouse Square, located across Chemawa from the focal point, will be making some changes.
“They are planning to reconstruct and put a building on the corner,” Brown said. “Their desire is to move Starbucks, but we don’t know yet.”
Permits have been applied to tear down the existing building with five businesses next to Nancy’s Burgers and put up a new drive-through Starbucks there.
Christopher eventually came around to Brown’s idea and made the motion to approve.
At the council meeting on Feb. 1, Brown explained where Blind Date would go.
“The area for signs is close to the water feature,” he said. “This is separated, to the south. There’s a standalone little planter area. It would allow the display of a smaller piece easily, which is good for this piece. A new artist has done an American flag (Ol’ Glory) made of scrap material. It stands alone better and is a better fit for Copper Creek.”