Restoration of Portland's iconic Paul Bunyan statue set to begin

Effort to clean up Kenton's 'Paul Bunyan'

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The iconic Paul Bunyan statue in the historic Kenton neighborhood is ready for a facelift.

The statue, the only Portland roadside attraction on the national historic registry, has seen better days. The statue shows visible signs of wear and tear. The paint is chipped and peeling. Moss grows in the cracks. The plaster is crumbling.

The restoration of the city-wide icon, which was built by the Kenton Business Association in 1959 for the Oregon Centennial, couldn't wait any longer.

"We needed to start the project this summer because last winter was so harsh on the statue with the wind and snow damage," said Angela Moos, treasurer for the Kenton Neighborhood Association.

A fundraising effort by the Kenton Neighborhood Association has generated nearly $55,000 to save the statue. They're $25,000 away from their $80,000 goal, but have raised enough funds for the project to start.

VIDEO: Help paint Paul Bunyan!

Scaffolding has gone up and the statue will undergo a complete renovation. The restored statue will be unveiled on Sept. 9 at the Tall Paul Fest on Sept. 9.

The project is intensive. First, the old paint must be removed. The statue will then be washed and dried, and cracks will be repaired, followed by another cleaning. The structure will then need to dry completely, a process that will take weeks.

After the statue has dried, it will be repainted. Because of its status on the national historic registry, painstaking detail must be applied to the paint job to make sure every detail is right, from the plaid shirt to his beard.

Moos said the entire community came together to make sure this project could happen.

"This truly was a grass-roots effort through the community and the Kenton Neighborhood Association," she said. "It's been more than we imagined, so it's a heartfelt thank you to everyone in the community."

Widmer Brothers Brewing brewed a special beer called Tall Paul Lager. The brew was sold in local pubs in Kenton and North Portland with $1 from each pint going to the fundraiser. Widmer will brew the special beer again and sell it at the Sept. 9 festival when the restored statue is unveiled.

VIDEO: New brew raising funds for Paul Bunyan statue

Green Zebra Grocery let the association sell T-shirts and merchandise, which helped raise money.

Rodda Paint raised $4,000 by donating funds from every can of paint that was sold. They also provided paint cans that were placed through the Kenton neighborhood. All the nickles, dimes, quarters and dollar bills that were dropped into the buckets ended up raising more than $5,000.

DONATE: #PaintPaulPDX website

© 2017 KGW-TV


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