VFW has pillars, arts commission asks to buy medallions
By Antonio Sierra
Following a two-year hiatus, Pendleton is getting back into the public art business.
At a meeting Tuesday, the Pendleton City Council will consider authorizing $3,300 in medallions for a veterans memorial sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Let’er Buck Post 922.
According to a staff report from Charles Denight, chairman of the Pendleton Arts Commission, the city would use the money to purchase five 16-inch, brass medallions that represent each branch of the military at a yet-to-be-determined public park.
The medallions will be placed on basalt columns that will circle a sculpture that will be installed later.
The VFW has a large stake in getting the project completed.
“Members of the VFW wish to take responsibility for building the memorial and have already sourced and transported the basalt columns to Pendleton,” Denight wrote. “They would set up the columns, attach the medallions, install landscaping, perform electrical and masonry service as need, using the skills of veterans. They would work with the Arts Commission to obtain additional funding for the art centerpiece and work with the Parks Department to complete landscaping and lighting.”
Pendleton’s public art is funded through a 1.75 percent earmark from the transient room tax. If the council approves the medallions, $52,000 will be left in the art account with no other commitments.
This is the first public art project considered by the city since a series of Main Street bronzes. The sometimes contentious series ended in 2016 when the city installed statues of Cayuse Chief Clarence Burke and “Mother of Pendleton” Aura Goodwin Raley.
Prior to the council meeting, the Pendleton Development Commission will approve a 2018-2019 budget for the urban renewal district.
If approved as presented, the commission’s $2.2 million operating budget would be nearly $1 million more than last year.
Just before the commission meeting starts, the council will hold a room dedication ceremony for Councilor John Brenne, who died in January. The city council chambers annex will now be called the John Brenne Room.
The dedication meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m., the commission meeting at 6 p.m. and the council meeting at 7 p.m. The latter two meetings will be held inside council chambers at city hall, 500 S.W. Dorion Ave.