Windscape, the landscape sculpture of red poles and custom masonry in the traffic jug handle at Northeast 102nd Avenue and Weidler Street (“Vandalism blows Windscape away” November 2014 MCM). Moreover, the sentiments expressed were universal: Windscape was ill conceived, supercilious, ridiculous, and, despite created with good intentions, a complete waste of taxpayer money.

In addition to engendering more letters than ever, the article also prompted 10 phone calls from readers voicing the same general disdain for the red poles. To accommodate the outpouring, we gave the Windscape letters their own page this month.

Since this story idea emanated from a reader, let us know if you have concerns or issues you want us to look into.

Email, or call us at 503-287-8904.


Ooops … but that was our money

This is how Windscape looks when originally built.

This is how Windscape looks when originally built in 2008.

To the Editor:

You asked for opinions about this eyesore of an idea?

I literally cheered the day I saw those poles were finally gone! They were nothing but BUTT UGLY, and as the story said, they never moved in any amount of wind. Possibly if they had been a neutral color WITH something of some wind resistance on the top so that they could sway in the wind, I might have felt something less than loathing for them!

So, I’m super glad they are gone, though it’s another pathetic demonstration of how public employees can find blatant ways to waste our tax dollars. To spend a $100,000 on that corner when the assorted wildflowers that someone originally had planted there were just fine is just depressing. People who have the power to spend other people’s money need to remember how hard it was for us to earn and pay those taxes. We don’t just toss our money around like it was nothing and then say, “OOOPS!”

James Bradley

Madison South


A fragrance garden would be nice

To the Editor:

The Windscape garden. Such a beautiful name. Such an ugly creation.

Many thanks to the homeless for the removal of the red wind poles. Perhaps as a community we can see that the plantings can also be changed to a wonderful seasonal delight of colors and scents. Since we are not allowed to walk on it (is this a Portland park?), we deserve to have something worthwhile when we are waiting for the lights to change. Imagine smelling Daphne, lavender and chrysanthemums and seeing Oregon grape, azaleas and daffodils.

Neighborhood residents could perhaps purchase an area for a memorial plant or plantings with the city giving out a list of what plantings would work.

Horrible as the garden is to look at now, it was much worse with the poles. Please put the poles in downtown Portland. Let’s hear that uproar.

Yours faithfully,

Jean Almblad

Parkrose Heights


Windscape no neighborhood improvement

To the Editor:

Please, please, please do not put those ugly poles back into 102nd and Weidler.

It is no wonder that keeping up our parks and building new ones cost millions of dollars when we throw money down the drain by spending $100,000 on 52 tall poles and sticking them in the ground. Besides the horrid cost that was spent, the poles did not complement the green space; possibly the green should have been removed completely, but together, they did not make a match that I found an improvement to the neighborhood. Surely we can find a better way to spend our money.


Connie Guentner



Red poles do not work

To the Editor:

Please do not return those long red poles to the jug. It looks so much better trimmed and without Windscape, and it helps keep campers away.

I do have to say that I enjoy art, and it is in the eye of the beholder, but these poles do not work for many of my friends and me.

Fran Leewis-Mei

Parkrose Heights


Keep it simple stupid

The city swept Windscape not only the homeless campers, but also the screening foliage when the squatters began breaking off Windscape’s red poles for lean-tos. Homeless had been using the stormwater retention facility for months before the city took action. Their detritus still litters the area. Memo photo/Tim Curran

The city swept Windscape not only the homeless campers, but also the screening foliage when the squatters began breaking off Windscape’s red poles for lean-tos. Homeless had been using the stormwater retention facility for months before the city took action. Their detritus still litters the area.
Memo photo/Tim Curran

To the Editor:

When I first saw the construction of the beautification project in the jug handle at Northeast 102nd Avenue and Weidler, I was glad something was finally going to improve that area. The red poles appeared to be part of the construction process and then I heard they were permanent. Yuck! They looked awful, looked temporary and were not beautiful at all. Then came the lack of maintenance, tall brush and homeless occupants. “Attention-attracting” is an understatement. I am so glad the brush is gone AND the red poles. I hope they do not return. I would like to see a low-maintenance ground cover and perhaps some annuals in the spring and summer for color. As the saying goes, KISS [Keep It Simple Stupid]! The waste that continues to prevail in this city and county is disgusting. Instead of constantly throwing money to the “wind”, how about road maintenance and repair as well as good sidewalks in areas much needed. I refuse to pay a street fee when this waste of taxpayers’ money repeats over and over again.

Joy Beldin

Glendoveer/Wilkes resident

Absence of maintenance plan


Biggest concern

To the Editor:

What do I think about the Windscape? Glad you asked. Quite frankly, I am glad the poles are gone. I thought they were unattractive and never even knew they were intended to create a visual effect in the wind. Since few people other than the homeless hang out at the corner of Weidler and 102nd, it seems to me that this location was an inappropriate place to put Windscape. Drivers passing by at this busy intersection should have their eyes on the road, not peering out the window staring at poles to see if the wind is bending them.

Although the stormwater retention aspects of the design may have been wise, few people appreciated the poles. The design of the poles looked to me as if nothing affordable could be placed there so someone decided to put some poles there for a low-budget sculpture. While I applaud the original intent of the design, it obviously has not produced the intended results. I would be happy if the poles were sold (how about Seaside beach where the wind blows?) in order to afford a maintenance crew to keep the foliage and weeds under control.

Lastly, I don’t believe anything should ever be put on the corner in the future unless there is a permanent funding source for proper maintenance.

Sue Miller



Rhododendrons would be nicer

To the Editor:

Your recent story about Windscape set on the corner of 102nd and Weidler asked a question: should the installation return? I have to answer with a resounding NO. The poles simply looked like a permanent construction site, as if someone had started a project and was not able to finish it. I thought of it as the unloved and orphaned corner, sad and forgotten. In no way does it better our neighborhood.

I live in Parkrose and drive past that intersection multiple times a day, so I’ve had plenty of time to look at it. I can’t recall how many times my partner and I have shaken our heads at its ugliness. Why not some Rhododendrons, we’d muse?


Lisa Hogan



Money better spent on trash pick up

To the Editor:

My husband and I couldn’t believe that money was actually spent for that useless “sculpture” on the corner of Northeast Halsey and 102nd.

But, the worst part was when they added those tacky red poles.

Thank goodness they came down, and we sure hope they do not put them back up.

Too bad they didn’t use that money to pick up trash on our Northeast streets, especially on Northeast 148th around the Interstate 84 overpass.

Thanks for writing the article, and thanks for asking for input from the public.

Jim & Sandi Zeller



Effort applauded, but not result

Windscape, the artistic landscape sculpture with its attention-attracting poles, was built among native plants and trees in the stormwater retention facility, or jug handle, at Northeast 102nd Avenue and Weidler Street in 2008. The entire project cost $100,000. COURTESY GREENWORKS

Windscape, the artistic landscape sculpture with its attention-attracting poles, was built among native plants and trees in the stormwater retention facility, or jug handle, at Northeast 102nd Avenue and Weidler Street in 2008. The entire project cost $100,000.

To the Editor:

I read your article about the Windscape in the Gateway district, where you asked for reader comments. I have not really liked that landscape since it was installed. I can appreciate that Mr. Abbaté put a lot of work into creating something that he thought would be practical as well as aesthetically pleasing, but I would like to see something on the lines of the simplicity that was there originally. There was grass and a cherry tree. They didn’t need much care, just mowing and pruning, and when the cherry tree was blooming, it was beautiful. I’m not really advocating going back to that, but in all honesty, the red rods looked ridiculous, and the roses, being white, looked like a garbage truck had lost its load there.

Every time I had a friend from a different area with me and we would pass that space, they would comment negatively about it, and frankly, I agreed with them. I think a new design would be welcomed, as long as it doesn’t cost ridiculous amounts of money and is created with an eye into the future maintenance of the space. I’m sure my fellow area residents don’t want to see something created that is full of weeds except once per year when a crew comes to clean it up … or never!

I am wondering about the storm water retention facility aspect. Is that something that was necessary there or just a nice addition? Maybe the design could be looked at once again and salvage what would be too costly to remove, while creating something more pleasing to view. Perhaps three designs could be created for the residents to vote on!!

Bottom line: I appreciate his efforts but don’t appreciate the end result.


Judy White

Maywood Park


Stop wasting our money

To the Editor:

Thank God the red poles are down, and trying to explain to visitors to the area what they were will no longer be necessary. The city should consult the homeless, which they permitted to occupy and destroy the site, how long the lean to poles should be and have then ready when the homeless take over the new park at Northeast 106th and Halsey.

I attended the design meeting for the jug handle. The proposed renderings were displayed to be voted on by attendees. The main focus was not listening to suggestions made but to be sure you’re signed in. Federal funding requires meetings and signing in was most important to the presenters.

Contact over months to city employees responsible for the site and commissioner’s office resulted in no clean-up or stopping the occupation takeover.

Now, there is more PDC (Portland Development Commission) money to be wasted on so-called improvements on Weidler-Halsey. Do we need $1,000+ garbage cans to be marked up like the current containers? Do we need new benches to ADA standards to make the homeless more comfortable? More trees? Many current business owners don’t have time or choose to maintain their existing landscaping let alone rake up tree leaves.

The proposed Northeast 112th east triangle design is another waste of money. The site at one time was to be maintained by the Park Bureau and funds were appropriated. The current identification signage on the site has been hit by cars about two times and the PDC fails to keep it mowed very often. It is also a dumping ground for trash.

Vincent Ledbetter



‘Welcome to Gateway’ sign a disgrace as well

To the Editor:

Sorry about the Windscape violation, such a shame; however, although it made the neighborhood look nicer… they didn’t really do much. I saw them go up but was never really impressed, as I thought they would all whistle different notes with the wind and move a lot more. I wish I could remember where (Belgium?), theirs, as they caught the wind, they actually made sounds, big enough to notice of course, but it was a nice feature. I am from the UK and I always think this area is so far behind the times; even the “Welcome to Gateway” sign is so dull and old. It should at least say gateway to where? And have some fun and modern artwork to display. Maybe you should do a competition for a Welcome to Gateway sign. And may the best man win!


Ms. Carmel Delaney

Gateway resident


Scrap the red poles

To the Editor:

Regarding the Windscape: According to your article, the people executing the design failed. The rods almost never moved as intended. If they are to be reinstalled, this should be corrected. They are not, in my opinion, all that attractive. So without the intended feature present, I think they should just call it a day and scrap it.

Hope you found this constructive.

Christopher Heck

Argay Terrace resident