Let’s be clear in our boosterism – there is Portland and then, there is Oregon.

And frankly, for art, east of 39th Avenue is flyover until you land in Chicago. For food our colleagues at Chowhound would frown and push the line out to at least the east side of 82nd Avenue.

Be that as it may, a significantly different aesthetic occurs outside of the context of urban density. Where Wal-Mart is gratefully accepted as a civilization, artwork shifts to, well to something else.

Most of the downtown bohos might lazily miss the chance to visit the slumberlands of the dead out on Mount Scott. Willamette National Cemetery is 270 acres conjoined with Lincoln Memorial Cemetery at 230 acres: rolling hills of fear and ceremony stacked up in lead-lined boxes.

This Rip Caswell bronze Eagle Monument, is easily 20 feet high, and sets on top of a boulder peering out from a traffic circle in Clackamas County – the gateway to these cemeteries and their ancillary churches and memorial gardens. Quite a business, death.

I like this piece because you can stand up close (well no one every does because these people out here are loath to ever leave the sanctity of their cars), just under the boulder and look up into certain death.

At this scale – with the viewer standing underneath this great bird (quite well rendered and realistic I suppose) has the perfect perspective of a field mouse exactly one second before death. Another heartbeat and WHAM.

If you want to visit and see for yourself, go to 11700 SE Stevens Road. Can’t miss it.

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