Thanks to Lynn of Mountain Vistas—she provided the first solid clue to the mystery sculptures in yesterday's post. (Although I really like Kristen's speculation that they are dessicated aliens, waiting for a good rain to rehydrate them!) Lynn said, "They look like diatoms to me. There are some interesting pictures at the bottom of this site . http://www.ucl.ac.uk/GeolSci/micropal/diatom.html "
Yes, they did look like diatoms, which is a new, but interesting, concept for me. I was rather pleased to learn that my guess that they looked like sea life or something seen through a microscope were both right! By way of more googling, I came, finally, to a page on the Tri Met website about public art along the transit routes in Portland. The section about the south transit mall near PSU says, "Fernanda D’Agostino has proposed 10 to 12 carved granite sculptures based on diatoms, microscopic organisms studied to determine the health of a water system. The over-sized “Diatoms” will be located in the infiltration strips adjacent to Portland State University in reference to TriMet’s and their shared emphasis on sustainability. " I didn't find out anymore than this, but it is, apparently a very new and ongoing installation, so there should be more information later.
I did find out that Fernanda D'Agostino is a Portland artist who has done many public art pieces and often combines scientific subjects in her artwork. Here is a site with more of her work and here is a sample. Beautiful, no?