Artful inspiration improves Howard Amon Park for all

A pair of creative Richland Parks Department employees saw the potential for beauty where many of us would have merely seen an eyesore, and the rest of us are better off for it.

Two trees in Howard Amon Park — a maple and a black walnut — had died, and fortunately, Manuel Pardini, and Bob Permann had a grander vision than a pile of wood chips.

The barren hulks, Pardini and Permann suggested, could be transformed into public art.

Several hurdles of bureaucracy later, the idea became reality, and Spirit Brothers Chainsaw art took up the task of shaping the dead trees into living tributes to the Mid-Columbia’s past.

One of the history poles is a collage of chainsaw-sculpted scenes from 1805 to 1939, including the old Amon Gate, the Rosencrance Waterwheel and a likeness of Capt. Robert Gray.

Another captain, Meriwether Lewis, is seen befriending a member of a local tribe. A miner off to make his fortune in the Yukon Territory makes an appearance, as does a farming couple ready to pioneer a homestead in the arid Columbia Basin.

That’s a lot of history for one dead tree to tell. What an amazing way to do it.

The second story pole is a monument to the wildlife and natural resources of our region, paying tribute to the Columbia River and its salmon, eagles, owls and coyotes.

A Wanapum religious leader gave a blessing at the dedication of the poles, acknowledging the tree, the water, the land and the light that made the whole display possible.

We’re glad these park employees had the vision for something different and that the city was smart enough to follow suit.