Building Bridges On Bridges in Mount Baker

Building Bridges On Bridges in Mount Baker

Can public structures provide a canvas for social equity? Local designers asked this question when they used the Mount Baker pedestrian overpass as the home of an installation for the 2015 Seattle Design Festival: Design for Equity, September 21st through October 3rd.

The installation, “Mind the Gap,” explores the bridge connecting historic Mount Baker to dense urban development taking place in the North Rainier Valley. The effort addresses equity gaps in accessibility, infrastructure, and culture that frequently follow transit-oriented development in historic neighborhoods, by creating a sense of place through little-known and culturally diverse local history.

To that end, local design firms JeppsonEGD and Penniless Projects have temporarily transformed the bridge into a venue that engages the community with inclusive stories uncovered during the recent “Mount Baker: Great Heights” neighborhood identity project.

The project was funded by a Federal Community Cornerstones grant, in conjunction with the Seattle Office of Economic Development Only In Seattle program with facilitation from SEED and SEEDArts.

The firms say the result is intended to inspire cohesive community ownership on a deeper level.

“The 40-year old Mount Baker pedestrian overpass, spanning the crossroads of Martin Luther King Jr. Way South and Rainier Avenue South in the Mount Baker neighborhood, is a bridge connecting cultures and resources,” said Noah Jeppson with JeppsonEGD.

“Today’s urban village has been the stage for some of Seattle’s greatest moments and most profound heroes. Historically, this area is underpinned by the Olmstead plan for interconnected parks and boulevards intended to connect the neighborhood of upper-class residents on the hills above Lake Washington to an economically and culturally-diverse group of individuals in the Rainier valley and beyond.”

“The area has been home to two legendary baseball stadiums, beautiful Franklin High School, and extraordinary individuals that made an impact on the world regardless of cultural background or personal challenges,” he added. “These powerful, inspiring stories are the core of the installation.”

Colorful wayfinding signage welcomes pedestrians and cyclists onto the Mount Baker overpass. Vibrant banners form an outdoor gallery of inspirational neighborhood stories. The installation will be on public display through October 3, 2015. Photo/JeppsonEGD


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