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Columbia County Rotary Children's Fountain unveiled to the public at Heritage Park

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Children play under a newly installed 20-foot water fountain at Heritage Park in Scappoose. A public dedication ceremony was held Saturday, Oct. 7.As the sun set and temperatures dropped below 60 degrees in Scappoose Saturday evening, it didn't matter to the dozen children who waited anxiously for water spouts to activate on the newly installed Columbia County Rotary Children's fountain in Heritage Park.

Children ran in circles and danced around, just beneath the fountain's 40 water spouts. Some were ready in rain coats and hoods, others embraced the mist in t-shirts.

The fountain was officially unveiled to the public Saturday, Oct. 7, with donors, Scappoose city staff and officials, Columbia County Rotary Club members and the fountain's designer, Michael Curry, present to take part.

Gary Liao of Columbia County Rotary recalled the initial vision for the public project, and the years it took to see it to fruition.

At the time the project was first conceptualized, Laio said, his children weren't teenagers yet.

"I wanted something for my kids and other kids in the community," Liao said. "This has been a collaboration between the city, Rotary, Michael Curry Design, and many many people and organizations in our community."

Liao said the city got a world-class project thanks to the generosity of Curry and his design team, who donated the time, design work and fountain centerpiece for the fountain.

"Most of Curry's customers have Olympic-sized budgets, or Superbowl-sized budgets, but we didn't have that," Liao said. "So what you see here is more than we could afford."

Curry and a crowd of dozens delighted as the first chimes played through speakers and lights illuminated the fountain's mist that soaked the children nearby.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Michael Curry talks about the vision behind the 20-foot children's fountain he designed for the Columbia County Rotary Club and city of Scappoose.Curry shared his vision for the fountain, saying he wanted something more than just a static piece of art.

"I knew immediately it would involve many different senses," Curry said of his initial meeting with Rotary Club members, when they described a children's fountain. "I think it's also appropriate to say that in today's world of people having all the tools to become more isolated ... it was important for me to create something for children that would be a very tactile, analog experience. There's lights and electronics and computers driving this whole thing, but I think at the end of the day, it's this visceral experience the kids will get in and feel."

The fountain utilizes recycled water and high-efficiency LED lights that project different colors in sync with songs pre-programmed into the system.

The songs were designed by Curry's son, a composer currently living in New York.

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