here is the short story why it is one of the 160 reasons why we like living in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The before and after photos give one the idea of what transpired. A steel ball once used to store acid associated with manufacturing plywood was donated to the City of Salem as the manufacturing facility was being decommissioned. This is how I found it when I visited in late 1999-2000. At the time there was nothing but a four-by-four post stuck in the ground with a small placard describing what was envisioned for the rusting ball - make a globe out of tiles. The sign also asked for donations and ideas on how to design the tiles. If one was interested in donating money, they also asked if one wanted to dedicate their donation to a water feature like an ocean, lake, river, etc. I was working on a deep groundwater well near Oakley, Utah at the time called the "Humbug" well - a well about 1,600 feet deep targeting the limestones and dolomites of the Paleozoic Humbug formation, so I donated $50 and dedicated it to the Humbug Well. This well has its own unique story, but suffice it to say that it was productive, and yielded water of such excellent taste that it became the source of a brand of bottled water known as Park City IceWater or IceRok Glacier Water. The name has changed a few times, probably as the bottling plant changed owners. I regularly purchase it as part of my class lectures on bottled water.
When I visited the Eco-Earth upon its dedication in the Riverfront Park here is what it looked like. I am standing in front of the south-facing part of the Eco-Earth near southeast Asia.
Oregon has a tourist promotion proclaiming "We love Dreamers". The many volunteer ceramicists who threw the nearly 86,000 tiles, geographers who made certain the globe was depicted correctly both geographically and to scale, and the many donors certainly lived up to the dream of recycling something great out of something that was an eyesore and potential liability for demolition and disposal.
And if the Eco-Earth is not enough to bring you to the Riverfront Park, check out the Chihuly blown glass sculpture (update - was removed due to insurance costs) within the carousel housing many beautiful hand carved wooden creatures.