A new 38-foot sculpture will anchor South Plaza entrance to what will become City Hall

After years of little change at The Round at Beaverton Central, city leaders find the genesis of the South Plaza a concrete as well as symbolic step in the evolution of the once-moribund commercial-residential TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle tried his hand at the backhoe machine on Friday morning at a groundbreaking ceremony for the South Plaza at The Round at Beaverton Central.

A groundbreaking ceremony on Friday kicked off construction on the latest physical element at The Round, 12725 S.W. Millikan Way. Anchored by a 38-foot tall sculpture called “Three Creeks One Will,” the semi-circular space situated just south of the of Beaverton Central TriMet transit platform — a complement to the fountain-oriented North Plaza just across the tracks — is set to serve as an artistically enhanced mini-park to welcome patrons of the complex’s shops and offices. The latter will eventually include city government at the five-story South Office Building when City Hall moves from its current Southwest Griffith Drive location.

With Mayor Denny Doyle working a backhoe, the South Plaza project ceremony was attended by city officials and local leaders along with Bob Lanphere Jr., president of Lanphere Enterprises, the project’s lead contractor; Jerry Jones, Jr., general manager of Lanphere Construction and Development; and Lorraine Clarno, president of the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re about to see a more vibrant South Plaza,” Doyle said. “We’re creating a welcoming outdoor plaza that will be a pleasant gathering place for a variety of community activities in the heart of Beaverton.

“This is a landmark day for what we hope will be a turnaround for the whole area.”

The plaza is scheduled for completion by Sept. 30, Jones noted.

The city is leading the $487,000 project, with Skanlan Kemper Bard Companies contributing $250,000. Koch Landscape Architecture designed the plaza after its $654,00 bid to the city last year. Lanphere Construction and Development bid $487,000 this spring to build the project.

City Councilor Marc San Soucie called the plaza a crucial link to The Round — after years of stalls, roadblocks and changing plans — realizing its full potential.

“This will provide a little bit more of a sense of completion. More trees, places to sit, artwork and places for people to spend time,” he said. “We need more shops, businesses and places for people to live, but this is a good start. It was a field of concrete and asphalt before.”

The plaza is the next step toward revitalizing the city’s Creekside redevelopment district after a flurry of ownership changes at The Round in spring 2012, including the city’s purchase of the South Office Building and Scanlan Kemper Bard Companies acquiring the 24-Hour Fitness building, the parking garage, retail spaces along Southwest Crescent Street and other undeveloped properties.

New living room

Koch Landscape Architecture worked with a design committee of citizen volunteers from The Lofts at The Round Condominiums, the Beaverton Arts Commission, Sister Cities and SKB to shape the plaza’s look and feel.

“Three Creeks One Will,” a 38-foot-tall, 6-foot-diameter sculpture designed by artist Devin Laurence Field, will provide the plaza’s prominent focal point.

The New Zealand native’s stainless steel sculpture, “One World One Dream,” was installed for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. His Beaverton sculpture will stand among a grove of trees and outdoor gathering spaces with movable seating and subtle changes in plaza levels.

Jayne Scott, senior program manager for the Beaverton Arts Commission, was instrumental in incorporating the sculpture and other artistic elements into the plaza design. Upon its completion in September, she sees the central space between The Round’s buildings as the city’s version of downtown Portland’s popular Pioneer Courthouse Square.

“I think this will become — like what they call Pioneer Courthouse Square as the ‘Living Room of Portland’ — this will become a community gathering place, a great place to gather and enjoy the sunshine,” she said after the groundbreaking.

Scott praised Field’s sculpture, which is being finished in a local studio, as providing an artistic summation of Beaverton’s history as well as its future.

“I think great art can tell a story, and Devan’s depiction of creeks and local history is a great way to tell our story,” she said. “We wanted something so that when the MAX (train) goes by, it will absolutely give a glimpse to people going from Hillsboro to Portland an idea of what Beaverton’s all about.”

Chad Withrow, director of field operations for Lanphere Construction, said construction on the plaza — including underground utility work and preparation for the sculpture site — will continue daily through the summer. Between 75 and 100 employees from Lanphere and four subcontractors will work on the site.

Doyle believes the sculpture and the plaza will help transform The Round’s checkered economic history to more of a magnet for commercial and residential activity.

“We hope this will be enough of a shot in the arm that others will see the city is serious and wants good things to happen and spur the private sector to redevelop the area.

“The possibilities are endless,” he said. “Once things start, others will follow.”

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