I'm so excited! I've found out the real name and sculptor of the onion ring! Here's the photo again.
Here's what I found out at Emporis Dot Com: One of Portland's most admired sculptures, Hilda Morris's bronze Ring of Time, graces the entryway on the west side of the building.
What building, you're wondering? The Standard Insurance Plaza, directly across the street from the Portland Building, where Portlandia kneels, occupies the block bordered on the north by SW Main St., the south by SW Madison St., the east by SW 5th Ave., and on the west by SW 6th Ave. From SW 6th, we walked over a wide, elevated sort of sidewalk, stretching from the regular sidewalk along the street to the building entrance--the Ring of Time stands against the building's wall at the end of the walkway. Whatever it's officially called--that walkway--I'm pretty sure that I remember correctly that Peter told us it was the first one of its kind in Portland. The building itself was finished in 1963. Below the sidewalk there's a sort of landscaped plaza and this fountain on the south side of the walkway--there's a matching fountain on the north side of it.
Peter said it's always coolly comfortable there, below street level. I imagine it will be busy later this week when we get into the 80s around here--folks can walk right into it from the sidewalk because there's an opening in a short wall that parallels the sidewalk, on the corner of SW 6th and Main--I can see it on Google Maps. I can't tell if there's another sidewalk level--can't move that little Google Man just right--makes me want to holler sometimes!
We entered the building and stopped just inside the door to look at what you see in this next photo, taken with available light. It's a weather indicator, as you can plainly read.
You can also read beneath the green circle-shaped light, "Green, no change." "White, colder." "Red, warmer." "Flashing, precipitation." "Steady, no precipitation." It's connected to what you see in this next photo, atop the 16-story, 222 foot building.
From Emporis: The building features a 50-foot weather beacon on top of the roof; white indicates falling temperatures, red indicates warming temperatures, green indicates steady temperatures, and blinking means it is raining or it is going to rain. The weather beacon is updated 3 times each day.
I only had time for the one photo, so I missed the light. Yep, it was blinking. The six-sided columnar-shaped beacon was blinking green, the light coming out of the nine-by-four grid of holes on each side. About the light's meaning rain, it wasn't raining then, and I don't think it rained on us during the walk. Since my brain has become a sieve as I've grown older, I cannot remember, doggone it!
Here's the rest about the Standard Plaza, from Emporis:
City's first building to place its parking garage below street level.
The original plans did not include sidewalks on Main and Madison.
Each level is column-free, as the building floors are held up by the elevator core and an outer frame.