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  • NOAA’s Salmon at Your Doorstep exhibit, which opened to the public in August 2012, will educate and engage large numbers of people. More than 800,000 people visit the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry annually.
  • The interactive sidewalk mural features marble inlays telling the story of a salmon run. Its purpose is to enhance public knowledge of the environmental challenges of preserving the local ecosystem.
  • The project began by applying an array of Super-Krete concrete restoration and resurfacing products to create a new white canvas to work with.
  • Hand scoring and building of the shoreline.
  • A multistep coloring process brings the river and shoreline to life. Sawcuts have been made for the marble inlays.
  • An overhead view of the completed sidewalk mural.
  • A close-up view of one of the marble inlays.

It’s not often that a concrete contractor is given the chance to create something that’s not only beautiful, but also serves an important educational purpose. That was the opportunity afforded to Alan Smith of Your Concrete Guy last summer when he was asked by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) to install an 1,800-square-foot sidewalk exhibit that would educate visitors about the relationship between salmon, local ecosystems, and people. Funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the "Salmon at Your Doorstep" sidewalk mural is located at the OMSI pavilion on the banks of the Willamette River, which is home to several endangered species of salmon and steelhead. This permanent exhibit uses concrete as an interactive work of art to help the public visualize how people's choices affect salmon health and recovery.

To bring the exhibit to life, Smith’s crew was hired to install a concrete overlay that would replicate a faux river with shorelines. Within the river, custom marble inlays resembling stepping stones were embedded to tell the story of a salmon’s journey. The project involved applying multiple colors of stain as well as intricate decorative scoring to form the curves of the shoreline. But before any of the work could begin, a lot of repair and surface preparation work had to be done to the existing sidewalk to get it ready for overlay placement.

“The original condition of the surface was an older concrete sidewalk with heavy aggregate distribution and good absorption. The surface needed to be pressure washed, spot ground, and crack chased, followed by crack sealing and priming,” says Smith.

For this aspect of the project, Smith used an array of Super-Krete concrete restoration and resurfacing products to create a new white canvas to work with. “We used Super-Krete PeneKrete penetrating sealer to prep and prime the surface. We used Super-Krete Super-Quick concrete repair mix for the sawcuts and cracks, and we used Super-Krete Liquid Concentrate resurfacer as our binder. The liquid concentrate allows us to mix our own overlay and manipulate the amount of sand and use either gray or white cement,” says Smith.

However, the project’s greatest challenge was the shorelines. “The design called for several tight curves and variables that could only be cut by hand. The cuts then had to be formed using cement and fiberglass slats. It was extremely challenging to pull off. The other challenge, besides a two week timeline, was working on a white cement overlay in 95-degree heat. It became unbearable by noon. We used early morning and late evening hours to keep everyone alive,” says Smith.

‘Floor’ guy becomes a ‘concrete’ guyYour Concrete Guy actually started out 15 years ago as Your Floor Guy, a floor maintenance company. “About 10 years ago it became apparent that concrete floors were a new wave that, because of their low maintenance, could put floor maintenance companies out of business. With that realization, I attended Super-Krete's training classes in San Diego. Since then, our business has grown to the point that last year we sold Your Floor Guy and now concentrate totally on decorative concrete and specialty epoxy applications,” says Smith.

Materials used:Penetrating sealer: Super-Krete Pene-Krete
Concrete repair system: Super-Krete Super-Quik
Concrete resurfacer: Super-Krete Liquid Concentrate
Concrete stains and sealer: GG Innovative Products

Contractor Alan Smith
Your Concrete Guy, Portland, Ore.

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