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Bridging the Gap
Published: 09/05/2009
 
Art Deco detail on Yaquina Bay Bridge
Art Deco detail on Yaquina Bay Bridge
Pete McKeeman

It was the art deco design of renowned bridge engineer Conde McCullough's Yaquina Bay Bridge that left an artistic legacy on the coast and inspired recent efforts to revive Newport's downtown.

Just a little over two years ago, efforts to revitalize Newport's downtown area began with the formation of City Center Newport Association (CCNA). Looking at existing architecture in the area and the strong art deco style of the Yaquina Bay Bridge, it was clear that art deco design should be their focus. Members of the association, led by local businessman Pete McKeeman, received approval from the city council to create the Art Deco Heritage Area, which is about 10 city blocks long. Development will also include the Art Deco Heritage Park with a 30-foot-tall art deco pylon arch at Highway 101 and Hurbert. This part of the city has numerous buildings in the art deco style that they wish to refurbish and preserve. The mission of the CCNA is to preserve, restore and upgrade the district's properties to be sensitive to the art deco heritage, increase public awareness of the art deco era and to promote a blend of form, function and aesthetics. Property owners are encouraged to retain and enhance the art deco features of their buildings and to paint them in appropriate colors reminiscent of the era. Sleek sweeping lines, stepped forms, sunbursts, simplicity and symmetry are some of the characteristics of art deco design. From the 1920s until the 1940s it was a style found in furniture, automobiles, ephemera, jewelry, fashion and common household items. Architecturally, the most recognized examples in this country are the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building in New York. New Orleans may have its French Quarter, but Newport has Art Deco! - By Stella Bennett

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