New 'creative crosswalk' installed in Portland's Old Town –

Teresa Blackman, Staff 4:58 p.m. PDT June 9, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portlanders certainly get plenty of chances to walk in the rain, but now they can walk on it, too. But these raindrops were created by a team of local artists, to make a downtown crosswalk especially eye-catching.

The “creative crosswalks,” as they’re officially being called, are part of a city project focused on improving the Old Town area of downtown Portland.

“The raindrop installation, planned and designed with community input, is intended to improve pedestrian safety and contribute to the district’s vitality,” said Diane Dulken with the Portland Bureau of Transportation. “It is one of several crossing improvements in Old Town Chinatown but the first artistic crosswalk.”

The new crosswalk is made of thermoplastic and was installed Tuesday, to guide pedestrians across Northwest 3rd Avenue at Davis Street. Its pattern features a giant umbrella, along with the artistic raindrops.

“Our streets are the largest public space in our city, representing one quarter of our land. They should be pleasant and safe places that foster community and business, and that’s what we are doing here through this public-private partnership,” added PBOT Director Leah Treat. “This creative project is a small investment with a big return.”

Jake Kaempf, with local design firm Ampersand Content, led the artistic process. “Portland is a creative town and Old Town Chinatown is the historical center of Portland. I am extremely proud of contributing to the betterment of the city I grew up in and where I own a business,” he said.

The concept of creative crosswalks stretches across the globe. A #CreativeCrosswalk search on Twitter features everything from a zebra-themed crosswalk in South Africa to an ergo-crosswalk in Korea and a crosswalk depicting giant McDonald’s french fries in Switzerland.

Back in Portland, Dulken said community members will help the city decide what direction to take next. If PBOT gets positive feedback about this first creative crosswalk, more could come later, she said.

For more information, or to give feedback, go to the PBOT website or call your commissioners’ office.

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