Portland seeks designs for MLK Jr. memorial on Bayside Trail

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PORTLAND — The deadline is approaching for submissions to design the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. memorial along the new Bayside Trail.

An oversight committee of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission is expected to review preliminary concepts for the design after the Aug. 12 deadline.

After qualifications and conceptual designs are reviewed, the oversight committee is expected to select five finalists. Those finalists will each receive $2,500 to come up with a full design plan.

The committee has set a fundraising goal of $750,000 for creation of the memorial.

The city began looking for a way to commemorate the slain civil rights leader more than two years ago, and assembled a task force charged with finding an appropriate place for a memorial. The new Bayside Trail was eventually chosen and the memorial will double as public art.

The Bayside Trail, which runs along a former rail line in Bayside, will eventually be 1.2 miles long and the memorial will be in a two-acre space next to Franklin Street, near Marginal Way. The path widens to about 65 feet in the designated area and will also include bench seating (a separate request for proposals from artists and designers is currently open for the seating, with a deadline of Aug. 31).

Along with a list of “themes” suggested for the memorial, the committee’s Request for Qualifications includes several factors and requirements for potential designers to include their proposals:

• Four-season public use.

• Minimum maintenance.

• A place of reflection, contemplation, inspiration and action.

• An interactive, engaging destination to revisit.

• Educational value.

• A sense of responsible citizenship, freedom and democracy.

Along with a preliminary design, applicants are asked to include evidence of experience with similar commissioned projects.

Once the five finalists are selected, there will be a public outreach campaign and collection of feedback from residents about the designs, which will be forwarded to the City Council.

The winner is expected to be announced Jan. 18, 2011.

The RFQ is available at the city’s Purchasing Department, in Room 103 at City Hall.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net