For four decades, the eyes of Abraham Lincoln have been red and gigantic. They looked over the East Portland neighborhood of Lents out of a 10-foot-tall neon coin that advertised notorious dancehall the New Copper Penny. The humongous penny was the Mount Rushmore of Lents, a symbol of the neighborhood's imperviousness to change—a pride or a bane, depending on who you asked and how they had fared playing the horses in the Penny's off-track betting parlor.

Gentrification and urban renewal finally claimed the New Copper Penny this April: owner Saki Tzantarmas sold his fiefdom to a real estate developer who plans to turn it into an apartment building. But just two months later, Saki's relative Deana Tzantarmas sent a Facebook offer to the "I Love Lents" neighborhood group: They could keep the giant neon penny, gratis.

"It's with much love for this neighborhood," she wrote, "that we would like to donate it to our Lents community." Take a penny, leave a penny.

Lede_BestOfPortland_BOP_Header2_4237