By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The Keizer roundabout opened just three months ago but the Keizer Public Arts Commission is already trying to figure out what to put in the center of it.
Commissioners discussed the potential of the space and even one proposal from a Keizer sculptor with a piece along the River Road North art walk.
Rick Smith, a salvage artist who crafted the Iron Glory sculpture of the American flag near Copper Creek Mercantile on River Road North, submitted a proposal to construct a trio of salvage-metal cows that would stand in the middle of the intersection.
Smith’s proposal called for $2,000 in materials and supplies and $7,500 in labor, but he would donate half of the latter amount to the project for a total cost of $5,750. That amount is more than the Arts Commission has on-hand so fundraising would be required.
Before the conversation moved toward approval, the idea met with resistance during discussions.
Commissioner Jessi Long said the idea of cows gave her pause.
“There’s something about cows that screams, ‘Let’s mess with it,’” Long said. “I think maybe a windmill or a piece of farming equipment might be a better idea.”
When ideas for an old truck or piece of farming equipment were floated, City Councilor Amy Ryan opposed.
“I hesitate to say a truck or farm vehicle because when I was growing up people always complained about the old, rusty trucks in the field there,” said Ryan, the city council liaison on the committee.
She also opposed the cow idea given the affinity for the herd that calls the property next to the roundabout home. The family that owns that property petitioned the city earlier this year to rezone it paving the way for 112 apartments. The request was approved in September, but construction is likely a ways off. Ryan proposed a Celtic sculpture as an alternative, and said the commission should be prepared to replace or repair anything that goes on the site
Nate Brown, Keizer’s community development director, said concern about cows might be overblown.
“The cows are a sensitive issue, but people have had some time to adjust to the idea and I don’t think we should be too concerned offending someone,” he said.
Brown said that whatever art takes up residence on the roundabout should be substantial.
“Anything small could be more easily vandalized. The beefier it is, the better,” Brown said.
Commission chair Beth Melendy tasked commissioners with brainstorming alternative ideas they could approach Smith with.
• Commissioners voted to remove a commission charge for pieces sold during exhibitions at the Keizer Civic Center. Brown reported that the charge was given as a reason for some show coordinators to balk at exhibiting their work.
Additionally, the 20 percent commission charge, which was instituted two years ago as a way to create funds for the commission to use on future projects had resulted in less than $50 in revenue.
• Commissioners voted to move their meetings to the third Tuesday of every month.