January 2008

Go ahead, blame drug addicts for the swiped artwork. It’s easy. You won’t get a letter from the ACLU. It’s no struggle. No one will reproach you or contradict you on their behalf.

Pretty easy to catch them too; rustle over to the trailer park about 7:30 in the morning, bang on some doors, spook the old folks into telling who was real loud last night. You’ll find it there, shoved under a tarp or stacked next to the boat in the garage. Like shooting fish in a barrel.

The interesting points revealed by these thefts are 1) the continuing lack of addiction treatment programs in Oregon; 2) the continuing “surprise” by newies + bureaucrats about this predictable behavior; 3) the absence of a secondary market for these objects beyond the scrap yard, showing their “value” to be intangible.

So by failing to provide standard of care – effective treatment on demand for addiction – Oregon dooms it’s sculpture art to ruin. Eat the rich.

The theft of the Astoria Sacagawea, on the footsteps of thefts of two large bronze artworks from a private estate in Portland, have notified Oregon police, who with a dozen phone calls to scrap metal dealers across the state and perhaps region will catch the next crooks, hopefully prior to stolen artwork being destroyed.

So what would it take to intervene? George Fite Water’s Lincoln? Emmanuel Fremiet’s Joan of Arc? Or one of Portland’s own bronze sculptures of Sacagawea, like Alice Cooper’s in Washington Park or Glenda Goodacre’s at Lewis & Clark?

Here is the word of the day – predictable. UPDATE – Methamphetamine drove them to it. Guess what? Putting OTC drugs behind the counter is not harm reduction. UPDATE – Astoria Sacagawea statue was destroyed by thieves (see remains in the photo on the right, from the Bend Police).

EXTRA – Fast Food Customers Suspected in Sacagawea Heist, from NorthCoastOregon.com
EXTRA – Sacagawea Statue Stolen In Astoria, KPTV.com
EXTRA – Sacagawea statue stolen from Fort Clatsop park, StatesmanJournal.com
EXTRA – Sacagawea statue likely stolen for its bronze, KATU.com
EXTRA – Meth heads suspected in statue rip-off, DailyAstorian.info
EXTRA – Statue stolen from Oregon’s Fort Clatsop park, AP
EXTRA – Thefts point to vulnerability of metal sculptures for scrap, Oregonian
EXTRA – Oregon may need tougher laws to deal with metal thefts, StatesmanJournal.com
EXTRA – Sacagawea statue taken from Fort Clatsop, possibly for drug funds, San Diego Source
EXTRA – Experts: Not all art thefts can be linked to drugs, the Oregonian
EXTRA – Sacagawea Statue Found — 250 Miles Away, KPTV.com
EXTRA – Three arrested after Oregon Coast landmark statue recovered, KGW.com
EXTRA – Sacagawea statute recovered in Bend; three charged, KTVZ.com
EXTRA – Sacagawea statue found at Bend scrap metal yard, Oregonian
EXTRA – Sacagawea statue found destroyed, DailyAstorian.inf0
EXTRA – Three Bend residents arrested in theft of life-size bronze statue, Bendweekly.com
EXTRA – Photos show hacked-up Sacagawea statue, Oregonian
EXTRA – Art for meth: What an unholy bargain, DailyAstorian.com
EXTRA – Four linked to Sacagawea statue theft, KATU.com
EXTRA – Sliced-up statue stays in police custody, Oregonian
EXTRA – More than metal, Eugene Register Guard
EXTRA – Stolen statues show how low Americans are sinking, StatesmanJournal.com
EXTRA – Statue to remain in Bend, DailyAstorian.com
EXTRA – Clatsop County Man, 3 Others Arrested in tTheft of Sacagawea Statu, Clatsop County Sheriff
EXTRA – Heavy Metal, Willamette Week

Four linked to Sacagawea statue theft from cicolini on Vimeo.


Ahh, now I can quit and go back to sorting marbles…

Joanne Oleksiak writes to announce the launch of the Portland Mural and Community Arts Library web site, created by Ping Khaw. It seems not only to be a archive of current artworks around and about Portland, but also a forum for information and dialogue.

Some parts are not yet working, but be sure to visit the Art Gallery, which leads to detailed information about local mural artists such as Joe Cotter, John Early, Mark Larson, and Eileen Belanger.

Much luck and completion wished for this project…

Here’s Joanne’s letter to everyone.

Portland Murals & community Art Library is moving forward.

The (brand new) Portland Murals and Community Art Library is now accepting additional artists, links and (esp) mural resource people for the website.


Visit www.pmcalibrary.org to see what’s been posted so far (ideas welcome).

As the Portland City Council begins deliberations this winter on what a new, mural friendly, sign code will look like- we’ll showcase- online- the work of artists who have done outdoor murals and community-focused public art in the greater-Portland area.

If you . . . .

– Paint outdoor murals
– have a related arts website (give us permission to add your link)
– have pictures of Portland- area murals (past or present)

Please contact the PMCA library today.

If you are a mural artist, please send:

– Your name and contact information
– 3-4 pix of your work (web ready)
– Artist’s statement or explanation of what you do. Mention what kind of work you seek (ie. type of commissions, work with youth, etc.)
– link to your own website (or blog, etc).

This website will help non-profit groups and Neighborhood Associations to find artists for the 2008 summer mural painting season, and will be a new way to exibit local talent.

SEND YOUR MATERIALS TO: pmca (dot) library (at) gmail (dot) com

Muralist Ping Khaw is our intrepid (volunteer) web designer. She’ll be working on the website. Plenty of time to your artwork! So far we have about 15 artists- but we need more! WE KNOW YOU’RE OUT THERE & PAINTING MURALS!!

Questions? Call Joanne 503/233-1004

If you can contribute a small am’t ($10-25) towards webhosting costs that is VERY welcome, but it’s not a requirement. Write your check to: PPKS International and send to: Ping Khaw 3530 SE Gladstone St, Portland, OR 97202


Best thing to do on the coldest day of the year is to plan your Springtime fun.

Has your body molded into a clenched hunch, hammering and yammering over a letter littered keyboard? Tight as a knot? Brain filled with worries and mush?

Do something very very different. Meet Keith Goodman, Dance Gatherer. No – don’t just read about him, meet him, see him dance and sign up for classes and dance with him.

Keith is one of Portland’s foremost dance performers and teachers for every age. Keith embraces new multicultural approaches to dance, social change, world mythology and mysticism.

CIRCLE THE DATE – New choreography by Keith Goodman will be performed by Brasiba on February 2, at 7:00 PM at Reed College – FREE!

CIRCLE THE DATE – Brasiba will perform the same new work at Sowelu Theater’s fundraiser on February 23, 7:00 PM. (RSVP @ 503-730-9066 / $25 – $250)

CIRCLE THE DATE – Dance Gatherer Camp for Youth will be held June 17 – July 2, call 503-232-2869 for more information.

Rod Remick lived in a shithole trailer with his ladyfriend Kathy who had a gig at Harbor Security. She told him about a place, up in the hills on the other side of town where no one lived.

She had to go on “patrol” which meant to drive up there alone, go through the gates, walk the paths with a flashlight, report anything wrong like a broken window. The pay was crap and they made her pay for the uniform. And there were creepy sculptures out on the grounds, in the bushes.

“Anything I can steal?” asked Rod.

“Jesus Rodney you do try to fuck up everything I do, don’t you? No. The house is locked and alarmed. I don’t want to lose this job. The daughter is nice.”

“I’m not fucking anything up. I’m putting food on the table. Nobody’s up there, right?”

Fairly soon afterwards, Kathy drove to where they’d planned to meet. She used the magnetic card to open the gates and Rod drove through in his old pickup with the trailer banging behind. The gates closed behind them. It was cold and she was sweating.

Rod brought out the power tools he borrowed from the wrecking yard where he used to work. He kept dropping things which clanked. Kathy thought a neighbor would hear – but nothing.

“The lady who lived here died,” she said. “I know the daughter. She’s nice.”

“Good,” said Rod, a bit too quick. “Nobody will bother us.”

Kathy showed him the flying lady holding a baby, back in the bushes. At first Rod couldn’t see how the metal was bolted down, so Kathy held her flashlight on the spot. He wrapped a tow rope around the base and hooked it back on the bumper of his truck. It didn’t take much gas to drag the metal out of the soft earth. Sparks flew as he pulled it across the road.

The arm holding the baby broke off as the metal rolled.

“Yeehaw, that’s it!” roared Rod as he stepped out of cab, “We’re rich!”

EXTRA – Remembering Jean Vollum, the Oregonian
EXTRA – Frederic Littman – Mother and Child
EXTRA – Art theft at the Vollum property, the Oregonian
EXTRA – Guard for estate, boyfriend held in theft of two sculptures, the Oregonian
EXTRA – Experts: Not all art thefts can be linked to drugs, the Oregonian. Touche’!

Sad. All around sad.

To Gavin and Kelly, thanks for your years of work. You created an ambitious goal and led a charge toward it. Good luck in future ventures.

(Painting of Gavin Shettler by Gwenn Seemel.)

To Portland Art Center Board members, it was your responsibility to supervise the executive to assure accountability and credibility of the venture. If you were unable to assert your responsibility, for whatever reason, you should have resigned as individuals at that time. Your collective resignation makes me think of one thing: rats.

To future arts program directors, board members, and most importantly, financial contributors to the arts, I hope you’ll take this effort and its demise in context. An ambitious, local, community-based, downtown, “cutting-edge,” arts venue is about the most awkward, tippy, confusing, hectic and potentially spectacular business to manage.

Leaders need mentors, need training, need a long leash, need friends in high and low places, need a shoulder to cry on, need a big check to seed the campaign, need counsel about the press and vendors and lenders and landlords. We can make new arts leaders like Kristy and Gavin, but we can also chase them away by leaving them high and dry.

Be gentle to each other. We’re on the far corner here of civilization, fortunate really to have any artwork at all. Be kind. Peace.

Three Oregonians have a public, daily relationship with the New York Times (there may be others, but none as interesting as these).

Two-time Pulitzer winner and columnist Nick Kristof grew up on a cherry farm in Yamhill and returns to Oregon sporadically. He gave a speech at the U of Oregon last April, “Covering the First Genocide of the 21st Century: Reporting from Darfur,” and perhaps the most cogent comment on Oregon’s unique Death With Dignity law, Choosing Death.

Kristof is the most courageous journalist writing – he has skills, a pulpit, integrity beyond measure. Sundays and Thursdays, folks. Make it part of your data schedule.

Arthur Gregg Sulzberger (shown right) is son of New York Times Company Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who also holds the title of publisher. The Times is a family business, a somewhat private venture. “Little Arthur” as he’s been described by gray lady gadflys, is the grandson of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger (also publisher) and great-grandson of Arthur Hays Sulzberger (also publisher).

Because of the legacy, where he alights he becomes the news, such as at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, the Providence Journal, and now the Oregonian. Currently he’s covering Multnomah County politics; in twenty years he’ll wax poetic about his salad days in the provinces. He’s getting beat regularly by equally young and cavalier Matt Davis of the Mercury. Nice to have a back up plan.

David Chelsea has produced elegant artwork for periodicals for over thirty years. I saw his sketches first in the Portland Scribe, a broadsheet far more radical in its day than anything produced locally now, which was gathered together in a rambling bungalow on Belmont. David’s mother brought him in, portfolio somewhat reluctantly in tow. Editor Michael Wells saw talent and original spot art, and bought it.

Thirty years later, Chelsea, author of David Chelsea in Love and Perspective, came back to Portland from the Big Apple to join his new family with his old family, with connections and savvy, which has parlayed into a weekly gig illustrating the Modern Love column in the New York Times Magazine.

His style is Winsor McKay struck with elegant, modern, urbane Harold Lloyd. More of Chelsea’s work and wit HERE.