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Citizens, officials and reporters gather Monday to survey fire damage to the Sentinel Pole

Update: Sentinel Pole burned, arson investigation underway

Around 10:30 pm on Saturday, August 23, several passers-by phoned in reports of a fire at the Sentinel Plaza to Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue. A truck was dispatched from the station at Cornell and Miller and the fire was quickly extinguished, but not before serious damage was caused to the Sentinel Pole.

"Normally we don't even investigate fire vandalism, such as dumpster fires," said Tim Birr, TVF&R Information Officer. "This is obviously an important asset to the community, so the firemen at the scene contacted our investigator who came out and began an arson investigation."

A complete story will be included in the September issue of The Cedar Mill News. Updates will also appear on this page as information is obtained.

Oregonian article, Tuesday August 26

On Wednesday evening June 25th at 6:00 p.m. the community is invited to a grand opening hot dog roast for Cedar Mill’s newest public greenspace, the Sentinel Plaza, at the corner of Cedar Hills Boulevard and Cornell Road. Families are invited to bring their picnic blankets and chairs to Foege Park that evening, eat hot dogs and cake, enjoy the pathways and hear the stories of how this all came to pass.

Washington County received a $180,000 “transportation enhancement” grant from the federal government to build this pedestrian and bicycle public plaza. These types of grants are meant to fund cultural or aesthetic elements of transportation projects. A committee including neighbors, representatives from the County’s Department of Land Use and Transportation, CPO 1, the Cedar Mill Business Association, Oregon College of Art and Craft and the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District helped guide the planning for this new community amenity. The plaza includes a pedestrian and bicycle pathway, a low “sit-upon” wall, fencing, lighting and lovely landscaping. It is part of a greenway “chain” paralleling Cedar Hills Boulevard and will eventually link up with other pathways on the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District Master Trails plan.

Lynn Whitehead, Cedar Mill Elementary School art teacher, worked with her students to add some wonderful grace notes to the Plaza. The children painted colorful tiles donated by Pratt and Larson Ceramic, Inc. of Portland, which add an exuberant touch along the sidewalks.

The showpiece of the Plaza is the Cedar Mill Sentinel Pole. It creatively preserves a piece of the cedar grove removed for the Cedar Hills Boulevard Extension. Rick Bartow, a highly respected Native American artist, was chosen to carve the Pole because a central theme of his art is the concept of transformation. The Pole, chosen as the centerpiece of Hillary Clinton’s Native American art exhibit at the White House during 1998, has stood since then at the entrance of the campus of its co-owner, the Oregon College of Art and Craft. Now it is returning to permanently stand as a memorial in the Sentinel Plaza. Major contributors to the Pole project include the Regional Art and Culture Council, prominent local businesses and construction contractors and members of the Cedar Mill community.

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) guided the funding flow and engineering and landscape design for the new plaza, to ensure that the project meets appropriate federal standards. As the City of Beaverton has recently annexed the property, the design went through their land use/design review process as well.

For more information, contact Anne Madden at Washington County’s Department of Land Use and Transportation, 503-846-4963.

inspecting the concrete plaza



closeup of top section


establishing a natural setting


Abe Turkl, Construction Project Manager, Tim Dreyer, Washington Cpunty inspector, and Ed McKee, contractor's foreman


Rick Lambert, (County Inspection Supervisor) in orange shirt, Al Girard and Abe Turkl, Construction Project Manager.

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