The new Downtown Canby Gateway Arch over North Grant Street rounded the bend toward near completion this week, as it was adorned with large, steel signs trimmed in the city’s distinctive, dahlia-inspired brand and proudly bearing the name, “Canby.”
While some residents and passers-by — including this reporter’s 7-year-old daughter (no joke) — will wonder or grumble about the need for such a sign, city officials say it is intended to accomplish a number of goals, not the least of which is signaling to the world the pride the community takes in itself and its carefully cultivated and historic downtown core.
“The Gateway Arch project is an exciting achievement for Canby,” said City Administrator Scott Archer. “Once fully completed in the coming weeks, the arch will be a landmark, announcing to residents and visitors that they have arrived in Canby, and in particular, to our downtown corridor.”
Inspired by the iconic gateway arch in Encinitas, California, the 84-foot span of hot-dip galvanized steel was officially set in place in mid-December, though it will be several months yet before it enters its final form. The arch stands 26 feet high at its tallest point.
The arch will be equipped with color-changing LED lighting designed to illuminate the pillars, arch and “Canby” sign each night while shining twin beacons skyward, and will also promote signage for local, city-sponsored events.
“The Gateway Arch is going to create a lasting impact and will be a focal point to be highlighted when people talk about Canby,” Archer continued. “I believe the arch will become a lasting, iconic symbol for the city of Canby.”
The fabricated steel archway and support columns were designed by Scott|Edwards Architecture to complement existing design motifs in the downtown corridor — particularly the Pacific Northwest flagstone-paved walls.
The columns will feature interpretative and commemorative plaques sharing the history of Canby and wrap-around bench seating to help activate the streetscape. There was also a plan to bury a time capsule at the landmark’s official dedication ceremony.
The arch is one aspect of city leaders’ continuing plans for revitalizing the community’s economic and culturally important downtown core, with the hope that it will entice new and returning visitors to leave Highway 99E and explore some of Canby’s independently owned stores, restaurants, cafes and watering holes.
“I am thrilled to see the progress on the Gateway Arch,” said Canby Economic Development Director Jamie Stickel. “It is indicative of the progress we have seen in downtown and throughout Canby.
“The Gateway Arch helps to designate our downtown and signals to visitors what Canby residents and business owners have known for a very long time: There are a lot of reasons to stop, shop, eat, play, and explore in Canby.”
The arch, which was tied in with the quiet zone project, was funded by Urban Renewal Agency funds. The long-debated and oft-maligned quiet zone project has also been positioned as an economic development tool, to enhance the livability of downtown Canby for residents, business owners, diners and other visitors.
It would make it so train engineers are no longer required to sound their horns as they pass the three intersections in downtown Canby — though they would still whistle if a car or pedestrian were in the crossing, or to alert people of other emergency situations.
The quiet zone designation, which had to be approved by Union Pacific Railroad and other authorities, including ODOT, comes part and parcel with a number of safety improvements at the three intersections, such as concrete medians designed to prevent cars from driving around the arms of the railroad gates.
The quiet zone will not actually take effect until the improvements are complete at all three intersections and Union Pacific Railroad officials have signed off on the change.
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