Why build a Gateway Sculpture?

The two-phased Gateway Sculpture Project began in October 2010 when the Arts & Cultural Commission began to think of creative solutions that would make highway frontage more inviting to residents and travelers . With a state highway bisecting our city, many potential visitors experience the auto-oriented, commercial strip along the highway as all we have to offer. The Gateway Sculpture Project aligns with nationally-recognized placemaking strategies and local economic development initiatives. By marking both entrances to the St. Helens community, visitors and locals are encouraged to slow down and connect with our unique ecological heritage.

Phase 2 of the Gateway Sculpture Project, the Salmon Tree Cycle, will not only help transform our community into a place of interest, but it will honor the ecological significance of trees and salmon to the Columbia River Basin. It can be hard to capture all the great things that result from public art installations, but here are some social, economic and environmental impacts we came up with:

Social Benefits

  • Connects residents to our uniquely Pacific Northwest sense of place

  • Builds identity which inspires community pride

  • Improves livability by creating a cultural resource accessible to everyone

Economic Impacts

  • Encourages motorists to explore our community

  • Welcomes visitors and tourists to our community

  • Spurs local economic vitality

Environmental Awareness

  • Encourages environmental stewardship by highlighting the importance of the relationship between salmon, water, and trees

  • Serves as an educational platform for the dynamic reciprocity of the Pacific Northwest Ecosystem

  • Visible reminder for the importance of conservation