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The stainless steel clock, designed by Suenn Ho, will be focal point of Rotary Plaza in downtown Tigard.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Brandon Petersen, left, Marland Henderson and Suenn Ho stand next to the stanchion base where the Rotary Plaza clock and post will be installed March 29 next to Symposium Coffee as part of the Tigard Street Heritage Trail and Outdoor Museum (Editor's note: Since this interview was conducted earlier this month, the exact installation date of the Rotary clock has been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.)

If all goes as planned, the entrance to the Tigard Street Heritage Trail will be graced with a large clock and accompanying gleaming, 10-foot-tall stainless-steel post soon.

More specifically, the clock, a gift from both the Tigard Rotary and the Tigard Breakfast Rotary clubs, will be installed in the new Rotary Plaza, located just off of Main Street, east of Symposium Coffee.

According to Marland Henderson, a former member of the Tigard City Council who championed the idea of Rotary Plaza, the Tigard Rotary Club pitched the idea to the council and got approval.

"We had maybe 13 or 14 ideas, and the clock seemed to be the thing that we kind of (decided) on," said Henderson, who is also a contractor who built the Symposium Coffee/Tigard Chamber of Commerce building. "They pushed at one time to have 'name block' bricks, but it seemed like what happened there was it was too complicated."

Enter Suenn Ho, an urban designer and principal with Resolve Architecture and Planning. Ho was already designing the Tigard Street Heritage Trail Outdoor Museum when the Rotary settled on the creation of a clock. She soon discovered there were only two businesses in the country that manufacture so-called "street clocks," with Electric Time Company Inc., of Massachusetts, selected in part because it had prior experience making clocks for Rotary clubs.

However, Ho pointed out that Tigard's clock is distinctive.

"It's totally custom," she observed. "Our clock is the best."

Rotary Plaza, an area set off by colored concrete pieces, is now complete and stretches from the side of Symposium Coffee to under the Highway 99W overpass.COURTESY PHOTO: SUENN HO - The Rotary Plaza clock sits upon a 10-foot-tall stainless steel post inside this warehouse before the colored art blocks and Rotary Plaza steel blade sign are added.

The Rotary Plaza clock, which is tentatively scheduled to be installed on Sunday, March 29, not only includes a distinctive face but also a ¼-inch-thick stainless steel Rotary International geared wheel encircling it. Henderson said he plans on bringing out a big boom crane to set the clock and pole into its stanchion base, which is embedded inside a basalt plinth bench.

An added benefit to creating a customized clock is that it allowed for the hiring of local artisans, Ho said.

By the time all is said and done, Henderson said he expects the total cost of the clock to be $50,000 or more.

In addition to helping design the Rotary Plaza clock, Ho also designed the accompanying steel structures that accompany the trail, including an art entry gate and the steel blade sign reading "Rotary Plaza," which will be attached to the side of the clock pole tower.

She is also responsible for the design of the five, double-sided cast art blocks that will run along the sides of the steel shaft. Those blocks extoll Rotary International's guiding principles, as well as the Rotary "four-way test" moral code.

Ho designed Astoria's Garden of Surging Waves, which memorializes both the history and heritage of Chinese immigrants in the Oregon.PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Marland Henderson, a former member of the Tigard City Council and a local contractor, displays the one-quarter-inch-thick stainless steel, Rotary International geared wheel that will encircle the clock in Rotary Plaza.

Tigard's ¾-mile Tigard Street Heritage Trail, which runs from Southwest Main Street to Tiedeman Avenue, has been mostly complete for a while. Tentitively, both the trail and Outdoor Museum will be officially dedicated at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 28.

"We have delayed the dedication trail ceremony so we may also celebrate the Outdoor Museum completion at the same time," said Lauren Scott, Tigard community engagement coordinator. "The Our Town grant artists will have completed their large public artworks. It also gives us an opportunity to kick off Tigard's Downtown Artwalk (scheduled May 29 to May 31)."PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - This is one of the five, double-sided cast art blocks that will run along the sides of the steel post that holds the Rotary Plaza clock.

Ho said she wanted to make sure the clock complemented the rest of the trail. With distressed or rusted steel already part of the project, Ho said the shiny stainless steel of the Rotary Clock will make it a focal point of the trail. It will be illuminated at night.

"I think it's a great piece for downtown, especially now that Main Street has been redesigned and brought back to life to be more of a community hub," said Brandon Petersen, president of the Tigard Breakfast Rotary Club.

The clock won't be a chiming or musical clock. Scott said the city declined to have that feature installed "due to several factors, including noise concerns from downtown stakeholders and proximity to the rail line, among others."PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Architect and urban designer Suenn Ho shows how light will illuminate the cast art blocks that will run along the Rotary Plaza clock posts.

Ho said historical photos installed in the Outdoor Museum were provided by the Five Oaks Museum, formerly the Washington County Museum. In addition to an American family, underrepresented community members are highlighted, including families of Mexican, Chinese, Japanese and Native American descent.

"As designer of the clock, I want to say working with the Rotary is a tremendous honor," Ho said. "Everybody at Rotary I met with when I got into the design process was always very positive and it really captures all your spirit in empowering others ... and it makes the process very, very smooth."PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Brandon Petersen, left, Marland Henderson and Suenn Ho sit next to a window at Symposium Coffee that overlooks the Tigard Street Heritage Trail and Outdoor Musuem where a Rotary Plaza clock will soon be installed.


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