You Are Here – A Tree Trunk of a Different Matter

In March, a new public art piece was installed in Portland, OR near the Jeld-Wen Field soccer stadium which is a cast bronze sculpture that depicts a large 9-foot diameter slice of a tree trunk.  The sculpture, made by Rob Baron,  is titled “You Are Here”  and is a cast of a large tree trunk slice with growth rings, an  edge of bark, and objects embedded into it.

Instead of dots to recognize specific years or time periods, the tree is covered with small sculptural figures  and symbols that reference the history of the stadium site and the surrounding neighborhood called Goose Hollow.  The work also refer to the lumber industry that sustained Oregon’s economy for over a century and also helped build Portland into the city that it is today.

The objects in the piece came from Portland’s secondhand stores and were selected so that they referred to the culture, commerce, and sports events at the site.  Some of the objects include a tennis racket, soccer ball, a trophy, vegetables, baseball hat and glove, a Timber Jim bobble head doll, some greyhounds and a collection of cat figures (the stadium has a population of feral cats nearby.)

Baron’s idea for the piece came a Portland Timbers’ soccer game, where he saw the team’s mascot, Timber Joey, cut a slab from a log with a chainsaw each time the team scored a goal.  The wood slabs are presented to the team members who scored the goal after each match.

The sculpture was supported by the Percent-for-Art program, which supports the policy requiring that 2 percent of the budget on large projects be spent on permanent public art installations.

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