Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Great Civic Tram Contest of 2006

What ever happened to that tarp – remember the one the city bought and then put on eBay? That’s a vital linchpin in my plans for the tram. All the parts should be dumped in one spot, covered with the tarp, and a great art contest begun to make a sculpture. We need a plan for the many expensive remnants of this failed scheme.
And there are a lot of parts. Sam Adams and the bureaucratic types who are running the tram project get all excited every time they mention how many ships – I think it’s 4 – that are currently heading this way with their cargo of tram parts: “See what happens when we act! We need a fleet of ships! We are mighty people!”
Each part should be catalogued and depicted on a website. Then around the city, school children killing time as their school years continue to shrink could design their own version of a giant sculpture. I already see a huge mechanical spider, like in Will Smith’s brilliant “The Wild, Wild West World” movie.

This will also allow the children to get some art training since those parts of their education are gone now thanks to budget cuts.
Then a separate contest could pick a name for the finished artwork.
I suggest “Boondoggle.” Critics might say that the finished work is an eyesore, but many said that about the original tram plans. At least this sculpture won’t be moving along hundreds of feet in the air. Besides, this version won’t have millions in future operational costs. And if something goes wrong with it, there won’t be dozens of people plunging to their deaths, followed by untold numbers of lawsuits.
I’ll concede that the finished artwork will probably be hideous, and we have plenty of that dumped around town already. But you know what? It will make a statement. It will portray what happens when some of the city’s elite, partner up with the City Council, and then use the daily newspaper to try and run a hideous scam past the citizens of Portland. When you think about it that way, the sculpture will look quite beautiful.


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