Standard Insurance Building, originally the Georgia-Pacific, bland, boring, fit into any western office corridor, home of Stoel Rives + Pamplins Jr and Sr, announces itself with two truely awful art-things. MAP IT.


“Strawberry” who is probably local tour guide Chuck Palahniuk, gives excellent research about Quest, a great porn spread of marble, light and water, by a nobody named Count Alexander von Svoboda, he perhaps of the Conn Art Studio of Toronto.

Famously awful, this waste of stone and place has been rudely addressing passersby, most who’d been introduced to Portland as a teatotal spinster town, rosepicking busybodies, but this great piece of las vegas funky splurt front and center since 1970. It was Byron Ferris, then of Bachman Ferris, the hip design firm of its heyday, who coined the name which stuck, “Three Groins in a Fountain.”


It’s flown under local family planning radar, eliciting random WTF! from tourists and transients alike. Hiding right in plain site.

Bolted to the granite of the adjoining building is The Will to Achieve, made by designer / sculptor Avard Fairbanks in 1929 for Standard Insurancein 1929. Fairbanks designed several other corporate logos, well-known at the time. About two inches thick and two and a half feet across, it’s a lucky find for art hunters. All to easy to miss or overlook in the glare of Quest.


Fairbanks also created the World War I memorials at Jefferson High School, the bronze memorial portrait of fire chief David Campbell on W Burnside (more later), and the excellent Pioneer Mother at Esther Short Park in Vancouver.

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