REDMOND — More than five years after the rerouting of U.S. Highway 97 created a wedge of undevelopable land at a key gateway into downtown Redmond, the city has budgeted $265,000 to beautify the area and create an iconic entrance to the community.
The site was carved out of the former Ray Johnson Park adjacent to Southwest Highland Avenue after an irrigation canal was buried and the new section of Highway 97 was added in 2008. It created a long narrow triangle between the highway and Canal Boulevard, which quickly became host to weeds and blown-in litter.
According to Redmond Community Development Director Heather Richards, the median’s new look will capitalize on the community’s designation as “Flag City U.S.A.”
The design includes a 550-foot strip from Highland Avenue south along Highway 97 and includes terraced landscaping with flowering and other trees, low stone retaining walls, as well as a parade of flags. New Redmond signs will be included on the walls.
Its centerpiece will be an elevated area with five flagpoles, featuring the U.S. and Oregon flags, a prisoner of war flag, a flag displaying Redmond’s hub logo and a newly created city flag.
Richards said she is particularly happy the landscaping will include large areas of tall phlox, Redmond’s official city flower, as another branding image.
“Redmond Flag Committee has agreed to maintain the flags, which we’re hoping make people think of Redmond’s big flag displays for special events,” she said. The gateway’s flags will be displayed permanently, according to Richards.
As part of the project, which uses Urban Renewal District funds, the swale behind the flag display will be landscaped with native plants, and in the near future, Homestead Canal Trail will run along the western edge of the median.
Funds are available now for the project and construction documents are being prepared, with construction slated to begin this year. An adjoining project includes adding stone pillars with Redmond signs at Glacier and Evergreen avenues, both in the Art Deco style echoed in downtown Redmond.
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