Imagine a sculpture of an ogre or a Bigfoot located in a natural play area along the Columbia River.
That piece of art — whether it be a monster in fairy tales or Sasquatch — is expected to become a reality, in Washougal Waterfront Park, after money is raised.
The idea of an ogre, from GreenWorks, P.C., a Portland landscape architecture and environmental design firm, was presented by Port of Camas-Washougal Finance Director Kim Noah to the port commissioners during a strategic and capital planning retreat in January.
Additional discussions occurred during subsequent commission meetings, and port employees have asked local residents what they want to see in the future play area.
The park, located at the former Hambleton Lumber Company property, 335 S. “A” St., Washougal, opened in September 2016.
Noah and Community Relations Specialist Angelina Anderson recently visited with students in kindergarten through fifth grade at Cape Horn-Skye and Hathaway elementary schools in Washougal. They brought concept plans by GreenWorks.
When presented with two options, 307 students favored a rock sculpture, while 229 preferred a rope climb, positioned next to “Erric, the Erratic,” a boulder that traveled from Canada on a glacier to this area in the Missoula Floods.
“It was really neat to see how excited they are,” Noah said. “Teachers appreciated that we considered the kids’ opinions.
“It turned out to be a really positive thing,” she added. “They liked both [options], but the ogre is more appealing and different.”
Noah said Cape Horn-Skye Principal Mary Lou Woody and Hathaway Principal David Tudor allowed the students to be interviewed.
“They immediately responded to my email with ‘We’d love to help!,'” Noah said. “They were very welcoming and loved the idea of the project.”
During an open house about State Route-14 access improvements, the Columbia River Trail and downtown Washougal transportation and infrastructure in February, 70 adults were asked their preference regarding what to add to the natural play area. Forty-five people favored a rock sculpture, and 25 preferred a rope climb.
The adults surveyed included teachers, administrators and other staff members at local schools.
The name for the sculpture will involve suggestions from children. It would be designed by ID Sculpture, of Gunnison, Colorado.
The figure would be made of reinforced steel, GeoFoam and glass-fiber-reinforced concrete.
Noah said the current cost estimate for the natural play area is $270,000. Of that, $27,000 would be the potential cost for the sculpture.
The installation of artwork is expected to occur during the fall or winter 2018.
Money raised through donations for salmon-shaped artwork by Malo Hasselblad could be used to purchase a sculpture for the play area.
“We will also be looking at grant funding from various sources,” Noah said.