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Zoobomb celebrates: New rack will be official Portland monument

Posted by on May 18th, 2009 at 10:18 am

Zoobomb pile

The Zoobomb Pyle at
SW 10th and Oak
(Photos © J. Maus)

An idea nearly three years in the making will finally bear fruit later this month when Zoobomb holds an event to dedicate the new permanent home for their “Pyle” of mini-bikes.

As we reported back in October 2007, the Zoobombers worked with Mayor Sam Adams (then Commissioner of Transportation), the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) and the Bureau of Transportation to secure a $10,000 grant for the project.

The new rack will be an officially recognized and sanctioned work of public art. Or, as Zoobomb puts it:

“A new home for Zoobomb’s bicycle lending library and a monument to public space, bicycling,and free fun!”

Story continues below


The existing location where Zoobombers store bikes used in their weekly forays up near the Zoo in Washington Park is at SW 10th and Oak (across from Powell’s). That location has become a well-known landmark for tourists and locals alike. In a press release issued by Zoobomb yesterday, they refer to their “bicycle library” (deemed so because they keep the bikes in good working order for anyone that wants to borrow one) as “one of the most photographed public artworks in Portland.”

Unfortunately, the existing, and technically unsanctioned location has also had its share of problems. The bikes have been impounded (mistakenly) by police, relocated by neighborhood request, and they’ve also been victim to chronic theft and vandalism. Now, the Zoobombers write, “it will have a safe and fitting home.”

The location of the new Zoobomb rack monument.

The “New Pyle” will be located at SW 13th and Burnside and the rack (and the bikes) will be an officially sanctioned piece of public art.

To create the new rack, The Zoobombers worked with local artists Brian Borrello and Vanessa Renwick. They’re keeping the final design under wraps until the event on Friday, May 29th.

The event will feature a special dedication by Mayor Sam Adams, performances by bike dance teams The Sprockettes and Chain Reaction, and a free bike light give-away.

    Zoobomb Public Art Unveiling
    Friday, May 29th
    4:00pm – Meet at the Holy Rack (10th and SW Oak)
    5:00pm – Parade to New Pyle at 13th and W. Burnside
    “Animal costumes encouraged. Mini-bike donations gratefully accepted!”

— For previous coverage of this project, browse our “Zoobomb Rack Project” tag.

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  • sh May 18, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Sometimes I’m just madly in love with Portland…go zoobomb!

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  • Paul Tay May 18, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Yep. I even got suckered into taking a cliche shot of the Pyle, dammit!

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  • ScottG May 18, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Now that the weather is getting better, I’m hoping to do my first zoobomb soon. I think it’s so great how this group has become a unique part of Portland’s bike culture.

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  • Paul Tay May 18, 2009 at 10:58 am

    When I first saw the Pyle, I wuz on da lookout for bike parking, and thought I just came upon an uniquely PDX solution. 😛

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  • John Lascurettes May 18, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Will be sorry to see it go from its current location; I can see it from many of our conference rooms in the old Federal Reserve building.

    Congrats to the Zoo Bomb crew for the new digs though. Can’t wait to see the new Pyle.

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  • revphil May 18, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    thanks much to the artists and volunteers.

    hot stuff!

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  • RyNO Dan May 18, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Hopefully all the portland cyclists can take a little piece of Pride in this city-approved bike monument.

    Everyone is invited to parade from the Olde Pyle to the New. Please join us.

    Thanks to everyone who lent their support to the project over the past three years.

    Yea ZooBomB !!!

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  • efglez May 18, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    $10,000 for this project? What for? Will someone explain what is this money needed for? Thanks

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  • emily b. wings May 18, 2009 at 4:02 pm


    come to the unveiling, and you’ll see!

    it’s an art grant. from a group who has a lot of money to give to artists to make public art things. steel ain’t cheap, homie.

    i bet the “ball and whisk, move-y thing” in front of powell’s cost way more than 10 grand.

    positive comments from here on please! this is awesome!

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  • efglez May 18, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Emily I am exited for the arts, I am an artist myself, but you still did not say what is the money going to be used for- Did you say “steel” homie? And I am trying to be positive and happy about it. But RESPECTFUL most of all.

    Not a homie

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  • MOYST May 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    I’m not sure, but I think the $ is for materials and labor, preserve portland bike culture, and create conflict.

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  • Carl May 18, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    The monument hasn’t been unveiled yet, but it’s a steel sculpture inspired by Portland’s bike culture to which Zoobomb bikes will be locked. It will have space underneath it for storage of helmets, lights, tools, and first aid kits (something we’ve long needed). So, as Emily said, if you want to know what the money is being used for, come on down and see next Friday. Don’t forget your animal costume, holmes!

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  • Dan May 18, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Not sure if I’ll be able to make the unveiling or not, but very very eager to see the new rack. Though I’ve never participated (mini bikes are scary!), I think Zoobomb is great – a (the?) quintessential Portland event.

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  • efglez May 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Now it all makes sense, Thank you!
    So it is going to be a structure that the bikes will be locked on and some storage and ART at the same time- sounds like a great Idea.

    I will try to make it! thanks again


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  • MOYST May 18, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Don’t try to hard.

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  • Blah Blah Blah May 18, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    I like the idea…But $10,000, are you kidding me???

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  • wsbob May 19, 2009 at 12:21 am

    Whatever is unveiled, I doubt I’ll have to be convinced upon seeing it, that money has been spent less wisely, somewhere. I’m looking forward to seeing the thing.

    The “ball and whisk, move-y thing” has certainly given Portland its money’s worth, however much it cost. That thing is weird…but people seem to love messin’ with it. How long is Portland going to have to live with it? Maybe the same as a tattoo. So now, people getting about in Portland will begin a relationship with this one of a kind pylehaus.

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  • offended May 19, 2009 at 8:26 am

    This is a ridiculous eyesore and a waste of money. Is the pile of bikes what you are calling art??? How is this a monument? Can’t you find a better way to spend $10k to build a tribute to cyclists? It’s tacky, it’s hideous, and you want me to believe its going to cost $10k for a pile of old bikes to be places on a street corner??? WTF? Seriously.

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  • bret May 19, 2009 at 8:31 am

    So that is what art is? Oh, I guess I am way out of the loop. Perhaps those bikes could be melted down to create some real art.

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  • E May 19, 2009 at 9:10 am

    looking forward to it!! love bike art! LOVE functional art!!!

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  • Darnell May 19, 2009 at 9:32 am

    $10K? You’re kidding me? Doesn’t anyone see a problem here. People are getting laid off left and right – teachers, public servants, etc. and there’s $10K for bike rack? Wow!

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  • mark May 19, 2009 at 10:20 am

    awesome. eff it, spend 100,000! no, but seriously, it’s easier to use 10,000 that is earmarked for such things like a public art piece than re-appropriate it for something else. and I’ll save judgment on whether or not it was worth it when I see the final thing. I think it’s just one of those things that makes Portland so much fun.

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  • tk. May 19, 2009 at 10:41 am

    @Darnell: $10k ain’t exactly going to make or break our budget. I know that they say teachers don’t make much, but I doubt you’ll be able to retain one for long for $10k.

    You should be more concerned about, say, the $42 million in Lents Urban Renewal funds that they want to use to build a ballpark with instead. That’s actually worth getting worked up about. This, on the other hand, sounds pretty awesome.

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  • MOYST May 19, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Bret and Offended,

    Thank you, for the critique.
    This work was created by Portland bike culture, as Zoobomb sprouted from within that same culture. Culture that creates and contains an aesthetic that does not need to be loved by everyone, but should be (at least) accepted by the entire community to represent a uniqueness that exists NOWHERE else.
    Also, how is the city not contributing to the welfare of its citizens, by offering money to local artists and material suppliers? Maybe that money actually sustained someones job.


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  • Darnell May 19, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    @tk.: this is about principle, as as it relates to the current state of the Oregon economy. How many $10K expenditures are of a similar nature that you don’t hear about? It adds up. I just think it can be better spent and things like this need to be put on the back burner.

    As for The Lents project, you’re absolutely right. Why are we subsidizing an owner using Urban Renewal Funds when his family is estimated to be worth >$700 million?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) May 19, 2009 at 12:07 pm


    RE: the economy

    This project was green-lighted waaaay before the economy took a nose-dive.

    Also, Zoobomb is a Portland icon that has generated a lot of cash for the city in terms of tourism-related dollars and publicity.

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  • Little Red Hen May 19, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    MONUMENT, n. A structure intended to commemorate something which either needs no commemoration or cannot be commemorated.

    Officially recognized and sanctioned monuments seem contradictory to the no holds barred, anarcho-cyclist subculture the Zoobombers have come to represent. I hope they cash the checks from RACC and PBOT and go stealthily install something radically offensive where ever the f*ck they feel like it.

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  • shantastic May 19, 2009 at 1:24 pm




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  • Diogo May 19, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Some people love it, some hate it, some get offended – that’s art indeed! And it hasn’t even been unveiled yet!!!!

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  • Darnell May 19, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    @Jonathaan Maus

    You’re right about it being greenlit during happier times. However, I think you’re stretching it by stating that Zoobomb generates a lot of cash and publicity for the city, implying it’s a justified expense.

    Exactly how much money does Zoobomb generate? Certainly, people are not traveling to Portland for Zoobomb. I would also argue that Zoobomb is only iconic within the cycling community.

    Portland reputation as a leading bicycling community has little to do with Zoobomb and more to due with 6% of the community bicycling to work, available bike paths, buses with bike rack, a young, environmental demographic, and relative affordability that allows young, entrepreneurial design-oriented people to pursue passions like frame building, and other cycling related businesses. Of course, I can’t forget advocates like you who contribute, as well.

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  • BURR May 19, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    where do you think the money spent on this project went to? Whatever you think of Zoobomb, the money went to employ local artists and purchase materials locally, all good for the local economy.

    the lame attitude expressed by the shit talkers and haters here once came close to stopping funding for other worthwhile projects like the eastside esplanade, congrats on keeping that tradition alive.


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  • Diogo May 19, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    #30 “Certainly, people are not traveling to Portland for Zoobomb. I would also argue that Zoobomb is only iconic within the cycling community.”

    Actually, a lot of people come to Portalnd for Zoobomb, specially during special events (MBW, etc). Also, Zoobomb has attracted coverage from magazines (not cycling) from as far away as Japan that portray the city as an interesting destination because of it.

    You can argue as much as you want – it still won’t make it true.

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  • shantastic May 19, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    zoobomb IS TO a part of the bicycling community.

    we’re in this together no matter what.

    now get your animal costume on lock down!!!

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  • bret May 19, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Is Zoobomb really that important? How many people are dressing in costumes bombing downhill in the dark? Doesn’t sound too responsible to me. Who is this cycling community anyway?

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  • Will Radik May 19, 2009 at 5:25 pm


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  • wsbob May 19, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    “Also, Zoobomb is a Portland icon that has generated a lot of cash for the city in terms of tourism-related dollars and publicity.” editor Maus

    Oh yeah. Well thanks, I needed a laugh. All those tourism-related dollars and publicity…that must be a lot… ought to be easy to tabulate into some kind of tangible number. Don’t forget all the receipts from PBR they drink before and after the bomb.

    Seriously, $10,000 spent on functional art for this group is not necessarily mis-spent. The pylehaus…(hope they don’t mind if I call it that)will be public art available for everyone to see out on the street….not some chic-y mural stuck away in the corner of an auditorium or board room where relatively fewer people will see it.

    Sounds like a good deal to me. Even if it turns out I hate I do those stupid kenny sharf totems…it’s still a good deal for this reason.

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  • BURR May 19, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    snarky portland passive aggressiveness, wow!

    diogo and Jonathan are actually correct, lots of people come to town to zoobomb, they don’t necessarily buy hotel rooms but they do spend ‘tourist dollars’ here in one way or another.


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  • Carl May 19, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    No publicity? Seems like every out-of-town newspaper or magazine article about biking in Portland or “Keeping Portland Weird” has to mention Zoobomb. Like it or not (most Zoobombers could do without this publicity), Zoobomb is a widely-known symbol of Portland and its bike culture. I heard about it before I even moved here.

    This money was earmarked for art and spent on art YEARS ago. Want to talk absurd expenditures of money? We could build four-hundred and twenty THOUSAND of these sculptures for the price of the proposed I-5 expansion project (AKA “Portland’s monument to motor vehicle congestion”).

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  • brian b May 19, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Oh my God, $10,000 for some public art and bike lending library?
    Are you kidding me?
    Our tax dollars blah blah blah…
    Do you know how many Northrup F-18 Hornet jet fighters that could buy?
    Jeez, Louise, what’s this America coming to!?

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  • Blah Blah Blah May 19, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    $10,000 seems to kind of go against the whole ZooBomb thing. I mean, I wouldn’t show up to a ZooBomb ride on my $3500 road bike or my $4500 mt bike. I’d steal my niece or nephews beater and ride. Seems like it could have been a community/hipster thing rather than commission some uppity artsy fartsy dude.

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  • revphil May 20, 2009 at 12:38 am

    I have a monumental* something something… INSIDE MY ANIMAL COSTUME!

    but this does make me wonder if next year we can keep track of the tourist dollars spent by people coming specifically to zoobomb.

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  • BURR May 20, 2009 at 10:13 am

    re #40 – the city wouldn’t let ZooBomb do this project DIY, they insisted we follow the RACC process and use RACC-approved / commissioned artists and designs. Plus, Brian and Vanessa really aren’t uppity fartsy artists, they are part of the community too.

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  • Carl May 20, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Two things to consider, blah3.

    -Considering the fact that many of Portland’s best custom framebuilders have Zoobombed, none of us flinches at $4500 bikes. It’s how you ride it and how hot your costume is.

    -It’s a Zoobomber’s job to snap up all free things offered to them…including $10K sculptures in our honor.

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  • MOYST May 21, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Darnell – #30

    You have it backwards. Zoobomb exists because of all those things you’ve mentioned, and last year I heard it was 12% of P-land commuted to work….but I shouldn’t believe everything I hear.

    Also, we have probably helped your PPD reach traffic violation quotas once, or twice.
    Support local business.

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  • Paul Cone May 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong but I believe the money for this project came from the Percent for Art fund, which RACC administers. Percent for Art requires that 1.33% of publicly funded capital construction budgets be set aside for public art. In this case, they spent it on local artists, which is not always what happens. Also, I recall hearing that the ball whisker cost over $100,000 (and you can’t even lock your bike to it).

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  • mykle May 22, 2009 at 1:40 am

    I hate kittens!

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  • Dog-Eye May 22, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    wha’d you say about Kittens???

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  • Jota May 26, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    So 10k here, 100k there.

    Oh my god we have a hundred million dollar deficit. What do we do? Oh of course, cut big programs. I would be hard to cut 10k.

    But hey it was free money and I got my part for what I was dreaming for. Plus we needed it.

    Think about all those tourist that come to Ptown from the Emerald City to participate in the ZooBomb but are stuck in traffic trying to cross the bridge. Oh but wait they can just ride their bike down. We know the STP only takes a weekend. As long as you don’t work more than part time it all works out.

    I will be down protesting on Friday not against bikers, but against a grand misspending of dollars by the city.

    Zoom on.

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  • travis May 27, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    i think functional art is exactly what portland needs.
    you can’t lock up yr bike to the swinging pendulum/testicle across from powells…. haters hated on the pyle for years. now its getting moved and getting classy and people still hate. its not like that money is paying for zoobomb beer runs. materials and labor are legitimate expenses. i haven’t been on a zoobomb run in years, but i’m still proud to live in a city that would do something like this!

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  • solid gold May 28, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    this money was designated as “art funding” from years ago. as in, it LEGALLY CANNOT BE USED FOR ANYTHING ELSE. so, it’s either a monument to bikes or some steel and concrete piece of abstract art with no bikes attached. you decide.

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  • […] Zoobomb Public Art Unveiling and Dance Party: The well-known, often-relocated minibike sculpture in downtown Portland has a new, permanent home: an art bike rack created by two local artists at SW 13th and W. Burnside. The celebration includes a parade, Mayor Sam Adams, entertainment and more. The parade meets at 4:00 pm at SW 10th and Oak, and will ride to the site at 5:00 pm. For more information, visit BikePortland. […]

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  • efglez May 30, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    the money! whatever ~

    Here is where I have a problem with this unveiling. The showing is from 4 to 5 pm?????WTF

    Do this people WORK?

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  • T Williams May 31, 2009 at 5:57 am

    I didn’t read every comment so forgive me if this has been addressed, but…

    The picture used with this article is of the OLD bike pile, not of the new one. I can see why someone would have negative comments if the OLD pile was $10,000.

    The new sculpture is, in my eyes, beautiful and looks nothing like the picture used with this article. Mr. Maus, maybe change the lead picture or its caption?

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