The Memorial Lifehouse was constructed in memory of a cyclist killed when hit by a truck at this site. It is made from cob and bicycle parts, and features a solar panel mounted on a bike wheel, turned to follow the sun throughout the day by passing community members. In the evening, the panel powers a light, which shines through the tower's stained glass bike-wheel windows.
For more information on City Repair's amazing work, visit www.cityrepair.org.
From the Zinester's Guide to Portland:
"On May 27, 1998, 27-year old Matthew Schekel was riding his bicycle down Taylor when a delivery truck ran a stop-sign on 37th, hitting and killing Matthew. After the accident, an impromptu memorial sprung up, two bicycle frames covered in flowers put into the dirt between sidewalk and street. In spring of 2002, City Repair built a more permanent installation. Getting the permission of the property owner at the corner, they built a “Memorial Lifehouse” directly into the retaining wall here. Made out of cob, the lifehouse has an “ecoroof”, covered with plants that will absorb rainwater. At the base of the lifehouse is an alcove for random trinkets and other ephemera in tribute of Matthew. To the right is a bench covered in intricate glass mosaic and stonework. At the right end is a solar panel/bicycle wheel atop another tower. Planted into the lawn is a wheel with an account of Matthew’s life and the project that brought this wonderful structure into being. I always pause when I ride by here, and reflect on the beauty of he memorial, and on how one stupid mistake can end someone’s life."