Tigard’s nuts rethought over potential jokes

Tigard downtown redevelopment manager Sean Farrelly holds a picture of filberts, a design for a sculpture on Main Street (July 30, 2013, KOIN 6 News)
Tigard downtown redevelopment manager Sean Farrelly holds a picture of filberts, a design for a sculpture on Main Street (July 30, 2013, KOIN 6 News)

TIGARD, Ore. (KOIN) — The proposed metal sculpture for the Main Street Redevelopment Project in Tigard has supporters who want to see it bigger and others who raise eyebrows at how the project might be described:

Two nuts sitting at the end of Main Street.

Tigard downtown redevelopment manager Sean Farrelly (July 30, 2013, KOIN 6 News)
Tigard downtown redevelopment manager Sean Farrelly (July 30, 2013, KOIN 6 News)

Downtown redevelopment manager Sean Farrelly told KOIN 6 News the sculptures will go in two places — at Tigard’s north and south gateways to Main Street.

The area was once covered with filbert orchards, and many people still have filbert trees in their backyards. There were also nut packing facilities in the area and it was once home to headquarters of the Oregon Hazelnut Industry Board.

The original concept for the art was filberts surrounded by blooms. That concept was the result of what artist Brian Borello calls a community visioning session: “Something that’s inspired by natural forms that had a connection to Tigard history,” Farrelly said.

“He was inspired by this phase [of growth],” Farrelly said of Borello’s vision, “…where it’s sort of in-between a blossom and a nut.”

The two filberts are designed to be about 14 feet tall.

“The one comment we got from our citizen committees that have strongly endorsed these is maybe they should be bigger,” Farrelly said.

But last week, one city councilman Jason Snider wondered how the scene might play out with “two nuts sitting at each end of Main Street,” the Tigard-Tualatin Times reported.

“There was this one concern stated,” Farrelly told KOIN 6 News, “and we’re going to take all the comments that we heard and we’re going to refine the concept.”

He said the city is working with Borello to make a few tweaks that will — hopefully — keep wandering minds in line.

“We’re still taking a look at the number, scale and the color,” he said. “We’ll probably end up with a number other than two.”

Though Borello is out of town, he promised Tuesday that Tigard’s first large-scale public arts project will be magnificent.

“We don’t want to be the butt of jokes,” Farrelly said, “even if it’s by junior high school kids.”

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