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I-5 Willamette River Bridge Project | Design Enhancements
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Design enhancements
Design enhancements on the north and south banks of the Willamette River and in designated areas adjacent to Interstate 5 are part of the Willamette River Bridge project. Community stakeholder groups worked with the design teams and ODOT to finalize their designs. They will be completed in 2014. 
The design enhancements are intended to represent historical and natural features of the area, including tributes to the area’s first people, the Kalapuya. View the Kalapuya imagery provided by David Lewis, Ph.D., cultural resources manager for The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and Esther Stutzman, Kalapuya elder.
The name Whilamut Passage (WHEEL'-ah-moot) is the theme of the project and guides the design enhancements. The theme recognizes the unique setting of the bridge in the Whilamut Natural Area, a place of historic and environmental significance. The setting is also a transportation hub of bicycle, pedestrian, rail, waterway and highway traffic. To the Kalapuya, Whilamut means, "Where the river riffles and runs fast." 

The three enhancements are adjacent to I-5: 
  • “River” by Lillian Pitt team. Located in the I-5 median between the two bridges, this stainless steel sculpture depicts a canoe above a graceful wave pattern in a setting of large camas plants and cattails. Etched into its pedestal are the names of the nine tribes that make up the Kalapuya tribe, the area's first residents.
  • “Camas Basket” by rhiza A+D will be installed on the west side of southbound I-5, north of the Canoe Canal Bridge. It is a large steel camas basket supported by four cantilevered steel columns, complete with camas stems topped with blue blossoms.
  • “Blue Camas Basket” by Devin Laurence Field. This enhancement will be placed at the south end of the new Whilamut Passage Bridge in an open space between the northbound I-5 lanes and the off-ramp to Franklin Boulevard. The cone-shaped basket design references the traditional burden baskets and camas root digging bags used to gather wapato and camas.
Several enhancements are planned for the north bank:
  • Individual blue stones depicting the lifecycle of the camas plant adorn the south side of the pedestrian path under the Canoe Canal Bridge. The camas plant is a historical food source of the Kalapuya. Designer: Litus LLC.
  • "Transportation Crossover" is a large mural that portrays a family unit traveling in traditional Kalapuya canoes. Underscored with five handcrafted tiles along the bottom edge, the mural was etched into the slope paving on the north embankment where I-5 crosses the Canoe Canal in 2013. The tiles will be installed in 2014. Designer: Betwsy Wolfston and Susan Applegate.
  • The Community Involvement and Long-term Ownership Strategy (CILOS) will involve collaboration between students, educators and other community volunteers to achieve on-the-ground restoration and community stewardship goals in the Whilamut Natural Area.
For the south bank of the river, design enhancements will include interpretative areas for The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and the historic Eugene Millrace. A natural viewing area on the south bank will be designed to complement the interpretative areas.