Hillsboro Pedestrian Wayfinding Project

Prototype piece of Hillsboro ‘wayfinding’ project displayed at Orenco Station Plaza ceremony

People checking out the new Orenco Station Plaza on Saturday likely got a glimpse of a prototype sign baring the look of ones that will be posted in Hillsboro beginning next summer.

The sign, which was located near the plaza’s water feature and boardwalk, is a prototype of Hillsboro’s “wayfinding” project — intended to bring a consistent look to the city’s signage and mark Hillsboro and its neighborhoods, among other goals. The sign featured mention of the Orenco Station MAX stop; historic Orenco; the Orenco Woods Nature Park; and 231st Avenue.

The sign bares the look of more than 100 signs and kiosks that will be displayed in Hillsboro over the next three to four years, said Corinne Weiss, the city’s communications and marketing manager. She said the prototype sign was removed Saturday evening. The first round of new signage will go up when Hillsboro’s downtown area is converted to a two-way grid next summer, she said. Some pieces, as renderings show, are small neighborhood directional signs. Others are more significant displays with public art.

Pennsylvania design firm MERJE is in charge of the signage designs. The firm specializes in wayfinding design. Gain Share funding totaling $500,000 is set aside for the project, according to a previous Hillsboro Argus/OregonLive report, and $75,000 from the Washington County Visitors Association will help finance the wayfinding effort downtown. Fifty thousand dollars from the same visitors association grant will fund a new public art piece that will double as pedestrian fencing along the Brookwood Parkway overpass. Gain Share is tied to Oregon’s Strategic Investment Program, which allows local jurisdictions to offer large property tax breaks to companies in exchange for local investment. Weiss said new signs will replace some of Hillsboro’s existing ones, which aren’t uniform in design or color scheme. Some of Hillsboro’s current signs, as well as renderings for the new ones, are displayed on the city’s website. Weiss said the timing of unveiling the first wayfinding sign prototype at the Orenco Station Plaza grand opening event worked out well. “There were some great comments and good feedback from folks at the event,” she said. “It just sort of added to the excitement of the new gathering place.” 

Jim Ryan | The Oregonian/OregonLive