Flame sculpture by UO alumnus highlights Gateway area

November 14, 2016

A new 62-foot-tall metal sculpture from a UO School of Architecture and Allied Arts graduate aims to draw attention to the Gateway entrance to Springfield, Oregon, along Interstate 5.

The City of Springfield commissioned sculptor Devin Laurence Field, MFA ’93, for the project, his seventh for the City. Field’s public sculptures have been installed around most major Oregon cities and throughout the world, including in South Korea, China, and Sweden.

Flame scupltureAbove: The new 62-foot-tall metal sculpture by A&AA alumnus Devin Laurence Field, MFA ’93, aims to draw attention to the Gateway entrance to Springfield, Oregon, along Interstate 5.

The bright red and silver sculpture, which resembles a flame, towers over Gateway Street and Randy Papé Beltline. The site plan for the sculpture, titled Flame, includes a pedestrian plaza with seating and lighting.

“The concept was to create a welcoming beacon to announce the north end of the city, create a sense of place as a new landmark, and ‘leave a light on for travelers’ arriving from I-5 into the hospitality district,” said Field.

The minimalistic design of Flame resembles the “three strokes of the pen” like the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, he said. In contrast to his previous installations, which often reference a site’s historical roots, Flame signifies the future of the Gateway area, he said.

“We tried to indicate the energy of the future for the site, which is about to undergo significant redevelopment, and the surrounding areas also will continue to develop,” said Field.

Field said his former UO art professors Paul Buckner and Max Nixon “reinforced in me the tendencies toward integrity of vision, self-motivation, and explorative study.”

Niel Laudati, legislative and public affairs manager for the City of Springfield, praised Field’s versatility and creativity.

“Devin’s previous works focused on the history of Springfield,” Laudati said. “The Springfield Flame gives us an entryway different from anywhere else in the state.”

Flame, the largest sculpture in Oregon, is Field’s seventh in Springfield. His other sculptures in the city include McKenzie Drift (a drift boat sculpture at the Centennial Station on the EmX bus line), Springfield Entry Monument (installed on South A Street), Splashdam (at the EmX Hayden Bridge Station), Blue Camus Basket (on the east side of the I-5 bridge), and Snowball (at the Q Street Station).

Electricians, truck drivers, crane operators, engineers, and other contractors were involved in installing the sculpture. Field designed, fabricated, and directed the installation of the sculpture.

“Public art projects like this are direct job creation projects for many blue- and white-collar jobs in the community,” he said. “There is significant economic impact as a result of all the work created spread over many companies.”

Flame, which cost $236,000, was financed through private donations and the Springfield Transient Room Tax. The Oregon Department of Transportation covered some installation costs.

Laudati said he hopes Flame will lend more regional detail to the Gateway district.

“The Gateway area [has] one of the largest groups of hotels between Portland and San Francisco,” he said. “Investments like this sculpture help us develop a sense of place.”

Plans to improve the entryway in Gateway have been discussed by city representatives and business owners for the past 10 years, Laudati said, but proposals were delayed by the Beltline overpass construction.

Blue Camas Basket, brushed and powder-coated stainless steel
Above: Blue Camas Basket, brushed and powder-coated stainless steel, 30' x 20' x 20', Interstate 5 Freeway at Eugene/Springfield Oregon, Oregon Department of Transportation. All images courtesy of Devin Laurence Field.

Splashdam sculpture, red painted steel
Above: Splashdam, painted steel, 30' x 17' x 8', Lane Transit District, Springfield, Oregon.