Welcome to Downtown Canby: Councilors Get First Look at Proposed Gateway Arch over Grant Street

The gateway arch has long been a powerful and iconic symbol in the history of civilization, beckoning travelers to come visit new territories and embark on grand adventures. Local leaders are hoping the proposed Canby Gateway Arch over North Grant Street (between NW 1st Avenue and the railroad tracks) could one day serve a similar purpose for historic downtown Canby.

The city council, in their role as the Urban Renewal Agency, on Wednesday night got their first look at the designs for the new monument proposed by Scott|Edwards Architecture, who drew inspiration from the city’s existing architectural motifs as well as other iconic structures, including the gates of Ledson Winery in Kenwood, Calif., and the Encinitas Archway in Encinitas, Calif.

The ultimate direction councilors chose was a blend of two design concepts. They liked the flagstone pillars from the first design concept — which incorporate a uniquely Pacific Northwestern style already in use in the downtown core — but preferred the arch from the second — one very similar to the clean, vintage look and feel of the Encinitas Arch.

Note: The main photo on this story is a mock-up by the Canby Now Podcast, to give you a rough idea of what the blend of these two concepts might look like. The architects will prepare a much more professional and high-quality design at a later date. And yes, we do know that the truck is going the wrong way.

The city hopes the arch becomes a landmark for the town, a source of pride and inspiration and, certainly, one aspect of the cultural revitalization and economic development effort in downtown Canby. It will not be merely a static “thing.” It seems all but set in stone (flagstone) that the arch will host a rotating array of signs and banners advertising different local events, such as Canby’s Independence Day Celebration and the Big Night Out Street Dance.

Other elements that were discussed included lighting, integrated seating, a water feature and/or fountain (for visitors of both the human and canine varieties) and a community time capsule. There will also be the ability to add plaques commemorating significant events in Canby’s history and dedicating the archway itself, which City Administrator Rick Robinson pointed out is a “moment in history” in its own right.

After reviewing the proposal by Scott|Edwards, the Urban Renewal Agency unanimously approved the contract to work with the Portland firm for a fee of $45,000. Heading up the project will be Brian Mares, one of the principals for Scott|Edwards. Robinson acknowledged that while it is somewhat unusual for a principal of a prominent design firm to take the lead on a smaller job like this, Mares has developed a particular interest in this project.

Preliminary construction estimates for the project are $240,600, financed through urban renewal funds. This figure includes insurance, bonding and a 10 percent contingency. The budgeted amount for the project was $235,000, but Robinson said the city has identified other available urban renewal funding for the project, should the final cost exceed the budgeted appropriation.

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