In 1975 the Oregon legislature mandated that 1% of funds for state construction in Marion and Polk go towards public art. In 1978 the program was expanded to the entire state. Various local cities and counties throughout Oregon have followed the State government's lead and enacted their own 1% for art ordinances.
ORS 276.080 mandates that 1% of construction projects spending 100,000$ or more go towards public art. Chapter 123 Division 475 of the Oregon Administrative Rules lays out the framework for how the money is to be spent. The Oregon Art Commission is charged with administering the selection process.
The art is commissioned or purchased by a committee of citizens that represents the agency acquiring the art. Serving on a art selection committee is an exciting way Oregon citizens can participate in beautifying their public spaces.
You can browse through images of the hundreds of pieces of public art installed through the program at this webpage.
Next time you walk into a public building in Oregon and see a fantastic piece of art say a silent thank you to those thoughtful legislatures back in 1975.
State of Oregon Law Library