It's usually risky business, picking out artwork for someone else, unless you know them really, really well. The Riverwalk is Astoria's "front yard," and doesn't need any public art, especially something that has to be explained and has been designed by someone who doesn't even live here.
The Riverwalk already has plenty to look at for anyone at any time of day or night. There are sunrises and sunsets, clouds and sky and weather systems, all types of lights and shadows, all the colors and textures of the river, the ever-entertaining river traffic, the hills and shorelines of two states and our magnificent bridge. There are also the wonderful array of Victorian houses, the Astoria Column, the trolley and its smiling passengers, the marinas, the old piling fields and all sorts of wildlife and plant life.
However, I have an idea for something that could be added to the Riverwalk that everyone would love. How about more historic interpretive panels, similar to the ones already in place, scattered at various locations along the Riverwalk wherever there's an old concrete foundation, a set of pilings or the remains of an old building? Each panel would feature a historic photograph of whatever structure used to exist in that particular location as well as a description of what it was, when it existed and who worked there - sort of a "then and now" concept. There are endless possibilities: canneries, net lofts, shipyards, ferry docks, net rack docks, lumber mills, early Regatta boat races, railroad tracks and turnarounds, sailing ships and gillnet fleets. Everyone could then step back in time and catch a glimpse of Astoria's past as they walked along the Riverwalk. They could see how our town looked over time and what had happened in any given spot over the years.
This is a great opportunity for a collaborative project involving the Clatsop County Historical Society, the Maritime Museum, the city of Astoria and Clatsop Community College. It would be something truly unique for our wonderful town. Think about it!
I also would like to encourage everyone to support our local and regional artists. Visit one of our great galleries and take home one of your favorite pieces to enjoy. And let nature and history "decorate" our Riverwalk.