Paul Bunyan's a real fixer-upper.
Portland's 31-foot statue of the mythic logger has been keeping watch over the city's Kenton neighborhood since 1959. Erected by Victor R. Nelson and his son Victor, it commemorated the state's 100-year anniversary of statehood. It's been a tourist attraction—and Instagram favorite—ever since.
But the years haven't been terribly kind to Paul, who's starting to show some age. The statue's paint has been experiencing separation due to various weather elements, including last year's harsh winter. The plaster has just barely held on.
"His fingers actually had lost all of their coating and covering, so they were down to wire," says Angela Moos, Treasurer for the Paint Paul PDX Committee. "In every crevice, there was moss and just years of filth. Dirt, bird poop, all that kind of stuff."
Help is on the way.
In February 2016 Paint Paul PDX—a group formed by the Kenton's Neighborhood Association and Business Association—launched a fundraising campaign to help restore the statue. So far it has raised over $65,000, including a $700 grant from Venture Portland.
The restoration is already underway, courtesy of Kenton-based contractor Figure Plant. But the committee's about $20,000 short of its goal.
To try and get over the hump, Paint Paul PDX will will host the First Annual Tall Paul Fest on September 9th.
The festival—which will cover a block along North Willis Boulevard—lasts from noon till 7 pm and features a Portland Timbers Watch Party, an official unveiling of the restoration and a specially brewed "Tall Paul Lager" from Widmer Brothers.
"That is our last big push for fundraising," says Rachel Browning, a member of the Kenton Business Association who works for Paint Paul PDX. "We really hope people will come and enjoy the day."
The Tall Paul Fest's main source of fundraising comes from "Tall Paul Lager," which sells for $5 per pint. Food carts, live music and the Timber's own Timber Jim will also be there. You can even win a log slice from Timber Jim and compete in auctions for Timbers swag.
Browning hopes 500 people will come through over the course of the day—it's free to get in—and "see how amazing the neighborhood of Kenton is."
The statue's unveiling will take place at 5 pm.
GO: Tall Paul Fest, N Willis Boulevard, paintpaulpdx.org, noon-7 pm, Free.