OHSU Center for Health & HealingDifferent from the new Peter Kohler Pavilion, the trophy at the top of Marquam Hill, the even newer OHSU Center for Health & Healing has almost no artwork at all.

The two buildings host the two spars of the Portland Tram (which qualifies by our conceit at Portland’s most elaborate and expensive public artwork). Still not open to the public (I hear January 25 and $5 bucks a ride) the tram’s publicly stated cost is currently at $55 million.

I can’t help it. Seventy passengers @ 17 rides per hour (seven minute journey divided by two trams) @ $5 a ride X 365 days a week = $52,122,000. Which means those freeloading OHSU employees have to make room or pay full fare.

glass bulb at OHSU Center for Health & HealingAnyway, following the formula all public buildings need an enormous fundraising space built in, the lobby area adjacent to the Tram has comfy chairs and hand blown glass bulbs hanging from the ceiling. If you send OHSU some money, a bulb can have your name on it. Otherwise, expect lite jazz and Oregon wines with regularity.

By day at least, the bulbs are not particularly interesting.

Best thing about this building is the 16th Floor observation deck which provides an excellent view North of the building, high over the Ross Island Bridge, from Mt. Hood to the East to the top of Marquam Hill to the West. I always love a new view of the city.

George JohansonA recent George Johanson in the cancer waiting room. He’s everywhere. The artwork would be much more interesting if it had been made in the 1930s.

But that’s about it for the public areas of the building

The building’s lack of artwork is a peculiar contrast from the Kohler Pavilion, which is packed with local artwork, in every hall, in every room, big pieces and small, well known and unknown. Looks like the Russo Gallery and the closets of the all the Schnitzer’s got a thorough clean out. Don’t think about the 1% or 2% for the arts – OHSU doesn’t qualify.

And, be reminded the employees of this building are, for the most part reasonably civilized, educated people.

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