Ah the constant question of Reedie sophomores, can be answered, but not rigorously. Can a fountain be art? Perhaps in Paris, probably not in Portland. What about Lovejoy Fountain, which shows the wild waters flowing downstream from the high mountains, churning through rocky streams, gushing into the ocean. Children act as salmon in the froth. MAP IT.

So Tanner Creek Park – so new the City still shows it as under construction – presents an amalgam of art and fountain, clearly marked not for wading. Tries, but fails, dragged down by a fiddlesticks political apology.

A homage to what was here before humans, or humans who diverted nature with concrete and iron, Tanner Park begins with a mysterious phony “spring” of well managed water which flows down several “streams” through planted grasses and arranged stones. The water accumulates in a large murky gray water pool, which with equal mystery disappears again under an aluminum walkway. Walling the east side of the park is a riot of railroad rails, set upright in a wavering line like a drunken fortress.

The nicest pieces of the assemblage / park are dozens handrolled and painted glass showing insects and small critters one can still experience in the local marshes and wetlands (mosquitoes mostly). They’re set inbetween the rails, surviving, delicate, frozen in glass.

Like much of the committee-approved art-crap we pay for, this piece seems a cowardly apology for the natural destruction to wildlife, set in plastic, and somehow ignorant of the brand new chaos surrounding it, now made of aluminum, plastic and bureaucracy.

Acch. This will get better in future seasons for two reasons. One, the grasses will grow, hopefully into high shielding barrier, filling the empty spaces. This could give it a lush and small animal filled interior, like the wonderful cloverleaf East Vancouver at SR 500 and Andreson. Second, those animals will be rats and mosquitoes. The rodents will bite the nasty Pearl District pets and the bugs will bite the nasty Pearl District humans.