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Downtown I-5 overpass column design up for public vote

Design options include eggs and sunsets

Similar painted columns under an I-5 overpass in the International District
Lana_aka_BADGRL via Flickr

Ever since it first showed up in Washington in the 1940s, Interstate 5 has posed a design challenge. The freeway bisects the city, separating neighborhoods with an imposing barrier.

The I-5 overpass separating First Hill and central Downtown at James and Cherry Streets is getting a makeover soon to brighten up the neighborhood transition—like the fish and, more recently, waves that grace the International District’s overpass.

The First Hill Improvement Association will use one of five designs submitted by local artists Angelina Villalobos, Baso Fibonacci, Forrest Perrine, Nathan Watkins, and Rose Alyea and Gabriel Stromberg based on a public vote.

Two designs note the passage of time—one with a sunset and sunrise, and another with columns that represent changing seasons. Another collection of abstract designs represent aspects of Seattle identity, like fishing and mountaineering. One proposal is based on tangible, positive affirmations. Another features flowers.

A series of columns goes from night to day with a sunset design

More photos of the designs and mockups are available in the full proposal or on the voting form.

Urban Artworks, a nonprofit that gives underserved youth opportunities to create public art, will paint the columns after the design is chosen.