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Friday, April 15, 2016

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Portland’s 31-foot-tall statue of folk hero Paul Bunyan has been restored and repainted several times over the past 56 years. The accumulated repairs, however, are coming undone.

Now, according to The Oregonian, a neighborhood association is trying to raise $50,000 to $70,000 to restore the iconic statue.

Preserving a 'Temporary' Statue

Portland’s is just one of many Paul Bunyan statues across the U.S. While some of these roadside attractions are constructed of fiberglass, Portland’s is made of plaster and stucco over a welded frame.

Portland, OR's Paul Bunyan Statue
By Visitor7 / CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Kenton Neighborhood Association reports that Paul has fallen victim to peeling and fading paint, crumbling plaster, carbon and dirt buildup, and even moss growth.

The statue was only intended to remain for six months, according to the Kenton Neighborhood Association, which is raising funds for the renovation. It was commissioned in 1959 by a local business organization to welcome visitors to the Oregon Centennial Exposition and International Trade Fair.

In the decades since, the statue has undergone several restorations and was even moved a short distance in 2002 to accommodate new infrastructure.

Surface Failure Issues

The statue was last repainted in 2009, with a grant from the local development commission, but it now faces four distinct surface failure issues, according to the association’s website.

The paint is separating from older layers “due to a chemical incompatibility,” and new and old paint layers are parting from the stucco surface, probably due to moisture trapped in the stucco.

The paint is crazing and cracking, and Portland’s environmental conditions (UV exposure and moisture) are taking their toll.

The neighborhood association is planning a complete restoration of the statue, including repairs, repainting and an anti-graffiti coating.


Tagged categories: Anti-graffiti coatings; Asia Pacific; Coating failure; Coating Materials; Cracking; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Historic Preservation; Latin America; Moisture resistance; Monuments; North America; Plasters; Stucco

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