Fairview unveils record-setting cutlery
During meetings, city of Fairview leadership wanted to craft something special for their community.
Tied around a new food cart pod that is set to open later this spring, planners looked at the corner of Northeast 223rd and Halsey Street as a critical juncture for something new to celebrate the city and draw in more visitors. The usual suspects were bandied about — a giant clocktower or water tower — but nothing felt right.
So the planning team agreed to "stick a fork in it" until later.
Months went by and it went from being an innocuous term to the literal solution for Fairview — they stuck a giant, 37-foot stainless steel fork in the ground.
"This is very exciting to see it go from a sketch to reality," said Fairview Mayor Brian Cooper. "It's impossible to miss."
"I never thought it would happen," laughed Justin Hwang, a local restauranteur who will operate the food cart pod. "The whole idea sort of started as a joke — a giant fork in the middle of the city — but as it went on people got excited."
The new sculpture is impossible to miss. The fork's prongs plunge down into the earth at the corner of the busy intersection, with the handle looming up above, gleaming in the sun. An "F" is engraved at the top.
The fork was funded through Fairview's Urban Renewal District and was crafted by Solid Form, a custom metal fabrication shop in McMinnville. It was installed Tuesday morning, Feb. 15.
Eventually the fork will be a record-breaking feature. The city has invited a Guinness World Record keeper to visit town and officially measure the cutlery, but if all the measurements were precise, Fairview's Fork should best the record by 2 feet — topping the current world's current tallest fork in Springfield, Missouri.
"We always planned on being the tallest; we didn't want any half-measures," Cooper said.
There is plenty to love about the unique, new centerpiece to the city. It celebrates the community spirit and humor that permeates Fairview; marks a new business that is bringing the oft-requested more dining options; and continues the shared goal by Fairview, Wood Village and Troutdale of developing Halsey Street.
But perhaps a passing motorist truly captured what makes the new sculpture so special.
"Fork yeah!" he shouted out, honking his horn and pumping his fist as he drove past.
The fork is more than just an art piece. It marks and celebrates one of the newest businesses opening in the community.
The Fairview Food Plaza will have 16 food carts surrounding a central covered dining hall, with two pop-up vendors and a beer garden inside. All of the food carts are from East Multnomah County, and some of the cuisines will include Thai, Mexican, Japanese, Korean, Swedish and Argentinian, as well as an American-breakfast joint.
"I want to bring a variety of cuisine to Fairview," Hwang said. "This community needs a place like this to come together."
In October 2020, Fairview City Council voted to sign a 10-year lease on the land for the food cart pod, earmarking roughly $3 million to develop the site through the urban renewal program. P&C Construction designed and built the site.
Construction on the Fairview Food Plaza was delayed, with dates pushed back a few times, but the current plan is to open the doors on April 1, with a grand opening likely in early May.
"It's not only about the food carts, but also about creating a community center," Hwang said.
The hope is for the location to host a summer farmers market, community events, live music and more. And the fork will support those goals of drawing people into town. Mayor Cooper said the fork in Missouri has led to 1 million selfies being taken since it was first installed. Fairview hopes to capture that same magic, with the goal of drawing people to see the fork and then having them spend the afternoon shopping and dining in town.
"We wanted to create this roadside attraction that would be fun for families," Cooper said. "This is a great start to Main Street on Halsey."
Main Street on Halsey is a project to create a walkable main drag through Fairview, Wood Village and Troutdale. The project is working to pave the way for more places to eat, shop and gather with the whole family.
"The three cities are working together to create a similar sort of neighborhood feel on Halsey," said Wood Village Mayor Scott Harden.
Eventually Halsey will be filled with boutiques, apartments and restaurants, improved pedestrian pathways, trails and lanes for bicycles, colorful awnings and signs, artwork and murals, plazas, playgrounds and community buildings.
And, at the western entrance, a giant fork.
So far the only detractor has been Cooper, mostly in jest as he cranes his neck to look at the top of the sculpture from across Halsey.
"I thought it would be taller," he said with a smile.
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