Making Connections at the County

501 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

Close up shot of detail of Connections bronze panel
Photo: Bruce Forster. Credit:
The Multnomah Building serves as the headquarters of the County government. Built in 1985, it was originally the U.S. Bank National Association Building. In 1999, the Board of County Commissioners authorized the purchase of the building and the parking garage across the street.

Of the building's appearance, Sculptor Wayne Chabre writes, "The building itself has no really distinguishing architectural features; it's basically a big square brick box on a highly-trafficked street."

However, go to the main entrance and you will see two bas relief bronze panels. The panels, titled Connections, were added to the building in 2005. In fact, Chabre was the artist. The design of the panels intends to represent the County's urban and rural areas. Images of bridges, roads, and water symbolize the County’s governmental functions.

Connections is one of many artworks on display in public buildings throughout the County. They are made possible by the Multnomah County Percent for Art program. The County Commissioners unanimously passed the resolution for this program on March 20, 1980. It created a permanent funding source for public art by reserving a portion of the total construction costs of major capital improvement projects. The funds are dedicated to installing art in public places. The Regional Arts & Culture Council manages the program.

Public art is all around us. You can find out where it is on the RACC website and even take a public art self-guided tour to find it. (After you're done with this one.)

Next Stop:

Somewhere on SE Hawthorne Blvd. between SE Grand Ave. and SE 10th Ave.

Get from here to there by:

  • Meandering east on SE Hawthorne Blvd.

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