Unique bench added to the Midland Trail

       An out-of-the-ordinary public bench was built beside the Midland Trail last week by the Concrete Couch nonprofit group, with support from the Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC) and other assistance from random volunteers.

A new bench on the Midland Trail at 17th Street has wheel-backrests and totem poles in the background.
Westside Pioneer photo

       A memorial to the late Duane Dosch, the new bench sits under a shade tree on the north side of the trail, just east of 17th Street. It combines rocks with tinted concrete and uses different types of old metal wheels for back rests.
       Susan Davies, executive director of TOSC, said Dosch was a musician (in the band, Pulpit Fiction), camper, bicyclist and long-time coalition volunteer/ financial supporter who died of cancer 1 1/2 years ago.
       About 40 people worked on the project over a four-day span, according to Concrete Couch director Steve Wood.
       Participants also helped paint and decorate eight nearby “totem poles,” as they're described by Patti Smithsonian, a local artist/ performer who works with Concrete Couch. This was a “zany” part of the project, she said, enjoyed by some people who preferred such efforts to working with rocks and concrete.
       Unlike the bench, the poles are not meant to be long-lasting. A resident of the neighborhood, Smith-sonian said she will be monitoring them and “when they start deteriorating, I will remove them.”
       TOSC had been asked to do a memorial bench by Dosch's widow Judy. Davies said funding was located from a TOSC fund earmarked for the American Discovery Trail, which the Midland Trail is part of. “We found a place along the trail in the shade,” she said. “The neighbors were OK with it, and we talked to the city.”
       City Parks was fine with the idea, not having to fund or install the bench. Also, Davies said, “because it's made of concrete and stone, it's not going to require any maintenance.”
       This was the second Concrete Couch art project along the Midland Trail this summer. In July, the nonprofit art organization, also with the help of volunteers, created a mural on a low retaining wall just west of 26th Street.

Westside Pioneer article