New monument upgrades city welcome to visitors

In 2015, Lebanon modified the welcome sign on the south end of town to reintroduce its motto, “The city that friendliness built.”

Four years later, Lebanon’s newest welcome sign was unveiled on the north end of town, reminding incoming traffic of the city’s legacy while at the same time hinting at the artistic direction the city is heading.

On May 30, a crowd gathered at Academy Square for a ribbon cutting of the city’s new welcome monument on Main Street, which is also the city’s latest art installation.

The City didn’t want just any sign, said Mayor Paul Aziz.

“We wanted something special, something that was Lebanon and gives a unique welcome and quick glimpse into our town,” Aziz said.

The design of the new sign draws on the hard work of the community and the architectural theme of nearby parts of town, added Gary Marks, City Manager.

“This makes a statement,” Marks said. “It says that we’re a growing, thriving community, and that we take pride in ourselves.”

Using input from a locally formed committee, the firm Stangeland Landscape Architecture designed the monument, which includes a lamp post, as well as a bronze sculpture from artist Heidi Wastweet.

A leading American medalist and sculptor specializing in bas-relief bronzes, Wastweet expressed gratitude for the opportunity to design the sculpture for Lebanon.

While considering a design centered around strawberries, Wastweet included the Western Meadowlark, Oregon’s state bird, in the design as a nod to her childhood memories of mischievous birds, while tying the community to its state.

Local contractor Briese Custom Concrete built the monument, and South Fork Industrial designed the lettering.

A time capsule will be installed in the monument on Founder’s Day, Oct. 17, to be opened during the city’s 200th anniversary, Oct. 17, 2078.