Portland Tri-Met Public Art Project

The Portland Tri-Met Public Art Program includes artwork at many of the stations used for public transit.

About the Tri-Met Public Art Program

The Tri-Met Public Art Program, which began on Portland’s Yellow Line, was guided by a vision of community involvement and multiculturalism, had its roots in the lives of generations of North Portland residents. Artwork at every stop on the line draws from the history and culture of the area to create a unique identity for each station.

The art project at the Rosa Parks station was completed by a team of artists including Lillian Pitt, Ken MacKintosh, Rick Bartow, and Gail Tremblay, who use traditional motifs to symbolize the life-sustaining relationships of nature.

Artistic interpretations of historic petroglyphs from the Columbia River Gorge appear on the columns, custom benches, and railing panels. A traditional basket weave pattern is repeated in the pavement. And, at the ends of each of the shelters near the apex of the roofline, are sculptured images of birds, fishing apparatus and other symbols of cultural significance.

Portland Tri-Met Public Art Program Reflections

The Interstate project was the first public art project I worked on. At the time, there was not one public art project in Portland that was done by a Native American artist. So I thought, that’s not right, and I went ahead and applied for the job.

It was a scary thing to do, because I had never done it before and because I was going up against something I could hardly wrap my brain around. But I did it. I worked with a team of artists to develop the proposal, and we got the job! I think it came out pretty good, too.

But after I got the job, I almost wished that I hadn’t because it was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. There wasn’t a lot of funding for the project, so the city asked us artists to go out into the communities and sell our ideas about what the art was about directly to the people living there.

So there I was, going door to door, telling people about my art and why they should love it. I thought that was pretty much above and beyond the call of duty, but it turns out that I got to meet a lot of wonderful people that way, and they all really liked the ideas that I shared with them.

Portland TriMet Public Art Program: Learn More