The Living Finish Line
Part of the mission of the Freshwater Trust Portland Triathlon is to look at aspects of race production in a new way. One area where creativity can be harnessed is the equipment we use. The finish line, for instance, has become ubiquitous; inflatable arches and PVC dominate the sporting world, but there is potential for so much more.

The Freshwater Trust Portland Triathlon commissioned local artist Aaron Loveitt of Altility Art Studio to create a new arch for our finishers; one that would celebrate the race, the city, and the achievement of completing the event the way it should be celebrated. His vision took shape in the sketch shown in the inset, below.

The arch is made from metal and cedar. It is comprised of individual planter boxes that can be detached from the frame and transported separately. This design allows the arch to be distributed after the race; keepers of the planter boxes will grow flowers and vegetables throughout the year, and the arch will serve a meaningful purpose instead of sitting in storage.

Each year the planter boxes will come back together to form a new arch composed of the year's growth. It is the responsibility of each individual to keep his or her planter healthy; thus, the task is shared and community is forged.

The Freshwater Trust Portland Triathlon would like to thank Echo Valley Natives, a nursery in Oregon City, for its generous donation of native seedums to fill the first planter boxes.

Aaron's description of the work can be found below the picture.

"The Portland Finish Line Arch is reminiscent of a section of a bridge tipped to one side, creating an arch in shape. What would be the road is now a line of growing ecology planted in a series of planter boxes. The arch itself is a healthy ecosystem living beyond the annual day of the race. This is akin to the focus of sustainability within the Portland Triathlon and the Portland community.

"The steel framing is like that of a bridge in town, but sections of steel are curved and reshaped slightly, creating a subtle transition from a rigid structure to a more organic, plantlike design. The arch is a symbol of efforts toward a healthier, greener design and the inevitable transition of all things returning to a somewhat similar state."

   --Aaron Loveitt, artist