Built 1997. Project Description: A half city block plaza that is part of the Westside MAX's (Metropolitan Area Express) ambitious public art program to merge artistic vision with public transportation. The plaza's artwork is intended to recall and promote Portland's long established tradition of free speech. The design team set out to transform the first new MAX station into a civic heart--a plaza the size of half a city block that would bring together Southwest and Northwest Portland, two historically different neighborhoods, while replicating the feeling of a traditional town square. Discussions of town criers, hand bills, public discourse and spontaneous gatherings, led the team to uncover highlights of Portland's own illustrious history of communication and free speech - a tradition they hoped to encourage for the future. The designers hoped to create a station that would encourage that tradition to continue. The communications building, a backdrop for the plaza, is clad in stainless steel and etched with writing that highlights colorful episodes and characters in Portland's history of public discourse. The bronze soapbox, tree stump, and the pedestal in the center each act as a stage for spontaneous speechmaking. The throne-like seats along both sides of the substation serve as seats for an audience. Project History: In 1992, the Portland Tri-Met light rail system gained approval to expand eighteen miles to Portland's West side. The West side MAX (Metropolitan Area Express) public art program is one of the country's most ambitious efforts to integrate the vision of artists with public transit. Over twenty artists contributed significantly to the design of what has become the largest public works project in Oregon's history. The art program was a voluntary effort of Tri-Met (Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon), the Portland area transit agency which built Westside MAX with a combination of federal and local funds. Tri-Met did not fall under any jurisdiction's percent for art mandates. Media: Bronze Speaker Podiums. Size: 2 ft. podiums in 1/2 city block plaza.