Port of Kennewick announced as Governor's 2018 Heritage Award Recipient for the Port's significant contributions to the creative vitality of Washington State: 

The awards recognize individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the creative and cultural vitality of Washington State. "These are the hightest cultural awards given by the Governor," said Karen Hanan, ArtsWA Executive Director.  "Each of these recipients represents excellence and achievement in their fields and will join over 244 exemplary individuals and organizations who have been honored over the past 52 years." 

ArtsWA stated: "Port of Kennewick is a 103-year-old organization with a proven record of building and sustaining the local community through advocacy, art, and architecture. The Port has invested in public artwork and architecture that integrates and shares the stories of the surrounding community. These stories, in turn, have become a catalyst that transformed the city's waterfront into a community and regional destination. From honoring the tribal, pioneering, shipbuilding, agricultural, maritime, environmental, industrial, and ethnic traditions, to providing cultural touchstones through educational imagery and representative architecture, the Port of Kennewick has worked hard to advocate, highlight, and symbolize the community's rich and diverse history. The installation of these works have brought renewed vibrancy to the historic downtown and championed history and culture within the City of Kennewick and the Mid-Columbia region."  watch the video

Art & Architecture

Art has the power to transform a community.  It can reshape public spaces.  It can add a magical, fun element of surprise.  And it can take drab spaces and craft them into unique places that draw visitors and enrich our lives.  When the Port of Kennewick’s Commissioners adopted the master plans for Clover Island and Columbia Drive redevelopment, they embraced public art as a critical element.  They understood that Kennewick's historic riverfront is special, and that it belongs to the community.  They chose to invest in public art as a way to bring people and new businesses to east Kennewick; to add visual interest; to revitalize historic downtown; to highlight the riprian environment; and to honor the culture and heritage of the diverse peoples of this region. 

Fun, colorful, interesting, contemplative, expressive, historic, and commemorative…the Clover Island, and Columbia Garden Urban Wine & Artisan Village artworks leave a lasting impression.  Visitors and residents are taking photos with these artworks and sharing them with their families and friends.  In this way, art has become an ambassador for our community…helping us share the stories of our history, culture, people, and lifestyle. 


Sapaxikas--"willow fish traps"
In October 2018, four artistic renditions of Sapaxikas meaning "willow fish traps"," were installed as the final elements of The Gathering Place on Clover Island.  Th estructures, which are stituated along a public pathway overlooking the marina harbor, provide a dramatic vertical element framing The Gathering Place art installation.  The port commissioned artist Kevin Berry who worked with the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation to envision, refine and create these iconic structures.  This new artwork honors the Tribes' tradition of capturing fish by placing large basket-like traps, woven from willows and weighted with rocks, into the Columbia River.  View photo

Mid-Columbia Latino Heritage Mural

Installed in May 2018, the Mid-Columbia Heritage Mural is a culmination of more than two year’s work by the Port of Kennewick and Latino community members who had approached the port looking for places to tell their story through quality public art. Professional muralist Andrew Reid was commissioned in 2016 to paint a public art mural for the Columbia Gardens Urban Wine & Artisan Village in east Kennewick. The all-volunteer Latino Heritage Mural Committee worked with the port to extend a call-to-artists; and then reviewed, selected and recommended their preferred artist to the Port of Kennewick Commissioners.

The mural committee worked extensively to determine what response, sense, or feeling they wanted viewers of the artwork to experience; and provided input to the artist throughout the process.  According to the artist, his intent was to represent the people who have contributed to the land with dignity and honesty by exploring themes of agriculture and wine labor, and the Latino history in the Tri-Cities region; and to use imagery which represents the values of family, a strong work ethic and cultural pride. The colors he chose are vibrant and realistic; and the murals themselves are both figurative and realistic with iconic emblems, typography and symbols embedded throughout.

The Latino Heritage Mural Project was funded by Port of Kennewick with support from Columbia Center Rotary, Kennewick Arts Commission, and mural committee members Jon Lindeman & Nancy Kenner, and Davin & Heather Diaz.  Watch footage from the dedication/celebration event.

The Gathering Place
In August 2017, The Gathering Place was celebrated--featuring bronze statues, a pond, educational panels, and an extended riverfront pathway was especially designed to share the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation's history, culture, and tradition of gathering Tule reeds within the area in and around what is now known as Clover Island.  With special thanks to the CTUIR Board of Trustees, Tamastslikt Cultural Institute, and Kennewick Arts Commission.  The artwork also symbolizes the partnership between the CTUIR and Port of Kennewick.  The bronze art was created by artist Rodd Ambroson of Joseph Oregon [with Tim Parks casting, and Tim Norman, patina]; and the entire installation was influenced, guided, and inspired by many including: Bobbie Conner, Malissa Minthorn Winks, Marjorie Waheneka, Randall Melton, Jennifer Karson Engum, Leah Conner, Tres Wandschneider, Elliot Gottfriedson Baker, Les Minthorn, Teara Farrow Ferman, Gail Redberg, and other CTUIR members who modeled for and shared stories, photos, and history with the artist, and helped research and craft the signage.  Watch footage from the dedication/celebration event.

Fair Game
This reclaimed-metal artwork featuring eagles fighting over a salmon, was produced by Todd Berget of Libby Montana and installed at the Clover Island boat launch in Kennewick in 2016. Berget is a shop teacher/counselor at the high school in Libby and his passion is helping keep his students in school by teaching life skills such as welding; and producing eagle artworks which have been installed thorughout Libby giving students a sense of community pride.  Fair Game reflects both the beauty and struggle inherent in the circle of life sustained by the Columbia River. 




Veterans' Christmas Tree 
Each year the Port of Kennewick decorates a 50+ foot-tall evergreen tree, located in the Port-owned "The Willows" area off of Columbia Drive and Clover Island Drive in eastern Kennewick.  The tree is adorned with red, white and blue lights in honor of the United States men and women who have served their country in military service.  Following the tree lighting in 2015, Melissa Poland and her ten-year-old son Nathan shared their enthusaism for the public display by sending an email which stated:  "Tonight was the first night we went home via Washington street and my youngest son, Nathan, said 'the tree!, I love everything it stands for--red, white and blue, and Christmas!' Feeling blessed," Melissa.  Port of Kennewick is pleased to be a small part of helping honor our Veterans' sacrifice and in helping create fond holiday memories for families. 


Collective Memory: "Ellie"

Located in the Port office lobby, Collective Memory: Ellie is a fiberglass sculpture that is one of three pieces commissioned by the Cascades Conservation Partnership to create awareness of salmon and their habitat. Ellensburg artist Don Brontsema was given artistic freedom to paint the sculpture and demonstrated his talent in creating a neo-impressionistic vignette of Eastern Washington’s forest, prairie and desert country.  When Kennewick citizens, Don and Barb Carter obtained “Ellie”, they decided to donate the sculpture to the Port for display in a waterfront setting accessible to the public.  Their vision was that it will serve to demonstrate the need to preserve the salmon and maintain their habitat along the Columbia without limiting boaters’ ability to share these waters. The artwork was created by Don Brontsema in 2003, donated in 2004, and installed in the Port of Kennewick office lobby in 2006.


Decorative Wooden Bowl

A beautiful, decorative wooden bowl was crafted and presented to the Port of Kennewick by in 2009 by John Tucker, a member of the Clover Island Yacht Club.  With permission, Mr. Tucker recovered wood from a large tree removed when the Port constructed the new Clover Island Yacht Club/mixed-use building.   Mr. Tucker hand-crafted several decorative bowls from the reclaimed wood; donating them to the Port of Kennewick and Clover Island Yacht Club as nostalgic mementos of the original Clover Island Yacht Club facility.  

Catch the Wind

Overlooking Clover Island harbor, Catch the Wind is a striking, red, powder-coated steel artwork featuring three unfurled “sails” which represents both the wind’s power and the appeal of boating on the Columbia River.  The artwork was created by Ivan McClean and installed in September 2009.  In response to a 'call to artists' for art that reflected the Columbia River's role in the lives and livelihoods of area residents, the artist developed the three-sail-like installation to represent the power of the wind, and the effect it has on the water itself as well as the boaters who utilize the local rivers.  The red mimics the crimson color of sunsets which are often seen refelected in the Columbia as the sun sets over the river. McLean, a sculptor living in Portland, Oregon works with a variety of materials and styles to create commissioned installation pieces of any size for both public and private spaces.  

Call of the River

The bronze artwork titled, Call of the River was created by artist Rodd Ambroson.  The artwork stands near the “notch” on Clover Island’s north shoreline.

Call of the River was created to honor the pioneers who settled Kennewick in the early 1900’s and the role the Columbia River played in their daily lives.  The East Benton County Historical Society provided several photos of early life on the river, one of which featured the Smith sisters in the early 1900’s dressed in their Sunday finery and leisurely rowing a small boat near the shoreline. That image served as the inspiration for the final artwork and a small interpretive panel installed alongside the artwork.  Call of the River was installed in May 2010. 

Ambroson is a renowned bronze artist living in Enterprise, Oregon.  His status as an accomplished artist derives from an ability to capture human anatomy and physiology in uncompromisingly accurate detail.  Grants from the Washington State Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, Kennewick Centennial Committee, and City of Kennewick Community Development Block Grant program helped fund this installation. 


Clover Island Gateway Arch

The Clover Island entrance gateway was constructed in 2010 to define the entryway to Clover Island.  The main focal point is a 28 foot-tall, art-deco archway which spans the road connecting Clover Island with mainland Kennewick.  The Gateway Arch defines the entrance to, and exit from, Clover Island and denotes its synergistic relationship with historic downtown.  The gateway arch is a 19,000 pound, painted steel beam with LED backlighting.  Concrete, galvanized steel and stone were specifically selected to minimize maintenance and to reflect natural elements found within the Columbia River basin.   The Clover Island Gateway was completed in spring 2010.  The project was funded in part by the City of Kennewick Community Development Block Grant program. 

Clover Island Lighthouse & Lighthouse Plaza

In 2010, Port of Kennewick completed construction of the 62 foot-tall, U.S. Coast Guard approved Clover Island lighthouse.   The lighthouse was built as a four-section, concrete, pre-cast structure. The tower houses a solar-powered beacon which blinks a small white light every four seconds and serves as a fully-functioning Private Aid to Navigation (PATON).  The 15,000 square-foot Lighthouse Plaza was designed as a public gathering space (it’s become a favored location for weddings and group events), and the colored concrete within the plaza was poured and stamped to represent a beacon of light emanating away from the lighthouse.  The plaza also features benches and landscaped seating walls.  The plaza offers 360 degree, ADA-compliant access around the lighthouse, and resplendent river views. 

Concrete, galvanized steel and stone were selected to minimize maintenance, and to reflect natural elements found within the Columbia River basin.  A view-analysis was completed to ensure gateway or lighthouse construction did not block existing river-view corridors.  Street lighting was directed downward, low-level bollard lighting was incorporated into the plaza, and the lighthouse ‘beacon’ was restricted to minimize night sky pollution. 

Metz Plaza & Family Group

The Metz Plaza shade structure features wooden beams and wire cables designed to evoke the image of a ship’s bow and sails; it is reflective of a nautical theme and inspired by the adjacent twin-span, cable-stay suspension bridge; climbing vines help shade the plaza.  Arculus Design & Technical Services designed the shade structure, and Mountain States Construction Company completed the Metz Plaza improvements in late November 2010. 

The Family Group, a free-stranding 3-D sculpture of brushed steel and copper, was created by Richard Warrington of Cheney, WA. The artist created this piece upon being told that he and his wife were to become first time grandparents--a new generation is celebrated by the first and second generations.  The artwork expresses the way in which a family will embrace each other in a "hug".  The Family Group artwork is the focal point of the Metz Plaza, and recognizes the Columbia River's appeal to families of all generations.  Columbia Center Rotary was the main donor for the Family Group artwork.  Dick and Diane Hoch, Kennewick Arts Commission, Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership, Kay and Viva Metz, the Knapik family, Dennis L. Poland, and Ray Poland & Sons, Inc. also helped sponsor the artwork which was dedicated in December 2010.

"Yellowbird" Buffalo Hide Drum with Painting

A pow-wow style drum titled Yellowbird was presented to the Port's Board of Commissioners in 2011.  The drum was hand-crafted and painted by drum-maker and artist, Carl D. Sampson.  The drum frame is stretched with buffalo hide.  The drum face is painted with the image of Chief Peo-Peo-Mox-Mox or Yellowbird (as he was known in English). The painting shows the influential Walla Walla Chief adorned in customary bone necklace and war paint, and aged in his sixties, from around the 1850s era.  Peo-Peo-Mox-Mox was an important Chief of the Walla Walla during a critical period in Northwest history.  When white settlers began moving in and claiming lands guaranteed by the Treaty of 1855 to be reserved for Indians, violence between settlers and Indian’s escalated.  Although Peo-Peo-Mox-Mox approached the militia forces in peace, under the white flag of surrender, he was taken hostage, killed and dismembered.  Accordingly, the Walla Walla people believe Peo-Peo-Mox-Mox’s spirit will wander forever until his remains are respectfully buried.  The drum is on display at the Port's offices which are located on Clover Island.  Note:  The artist’s great-great-grandfather was Chief Peo-Peo-Mox-Mox and that name has passed with honor through generations to future leaders of their family.  As such the late artist Chief Carl D. Sampson was also known as Peo-Peo-Mox-Mox or Yellowbird, and during his time as leader of the Walla Walla he worked to identify and rebury his ancestor’s remains and bring peace and rest to Peo-Peo-Mox-Mox’s spirit.

CTUIR Pow-Wow Drum

The Board of Trustees of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) presented the Port of Kennewick Board of Commissioners with a pow-wow style drum adorned with the CTUIR Tribal patch and painted with the Port of Kennewick logo.  The presentation was made in April 2013 during the second joint meeting between the Tribes’ Board of Trustees and the Port’s Board of Commissioners to commemorate the meeting and honor the historic significance of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) established between the organizations. The drum is displayed in the Port's office lobby on Clover Island in Kennewick.

Mother of Reinvention II by artist Ivan McClean

Mother of Reinvention II

In December 2014, the port installed the Mother of Reinvention II by artist Ivan McLean. This steel structure is interactive--push on the artwork and it will move on its center pivot to engage different vistas within the open center circle.  Mother of Reinvention 2 was installed at the west end of the "notch" overlooking the Columbia River and the placement allows visitors to enjoy different perspectives of the Cable Bridge to the east; Pioneer Memorial (blue bridge) Bridge, and the Clover Island Lighthouse to the west; and a variety of waterfowl and boaters as they enjoy the Columbia River. 

The Port also installed a ship's anchor, chain and bollards at the east end of the Clover Island "notch," and a propeller in front of the Cedars Restaurant, to honor the Port's and Clover Island's ship-building history.  These installations offers a fun and whimsical re-use of industrial elements as public art. 

Heritage Artwork honoring Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) ties to Columbia River and Clover Island

The Port of Kennewick commissioned a bronze artwork by artist Rodd Ambroson to honor the CTUIR's history, culture and ties to the area now known as Kennewick's Clover Island.  Based on a concept conceived by members of the CTUIR, the artist sculpted two figures gathering tule reeds to represent the significance of this native plant to the tribes every day lives and honor the tribes' culture and history in the Mid-Coumbia--which is part of their traidtional homelands.  Read more:  

Tri-City Herald.  June 10, 2014   Tri-City Herald.  May 12, 2012

These artworks and architecture improvements are helping transform Clover Island and the adjacent Columbia Gardens Urban Wine & Artisan Village into  regional gathering places.  The port’s goal is to create a vibrant, mixed-use destination waterfront and to stimulate urban renewal within Historic Downtown Kennewick.