He made two welded iron sculptures, in 1974 and 1976, which have lasted far longer than the businesses they were originally made for, parked out on SW Capital Highway, just north of Tigard.

The female form is staged in an awkward position, holding a lamp, in front of an office park. A little larger than life size. She has rust spots, but weathered quite well and looks like she’s had a coat of paint or two in the past thirty years.

Her hair is cut like leaves, folding around her face. After half a lifetime of whizzing by at 40 miles an hour I had only an indistinct impression, of cardboard maybe, or heavy layers of duck tape.

Up close, which I imagine only the grasscutter or a lost teenager might ever be, she is quite elegant. Posed, like a fairy from Midsummer Night’s Dream, or a child captured in the pop of a flashbulb. Light and floating, wind rippling her shirt.

The male form, about two blocks down the hill and twice life size, is of a Revolutionary War Minuteman soldier, rifle ready, marching off to battle. I think he was made for a national insurance company which had this fellow as a mascot. Minuteman Insurance I guess. Or was Bell a U Mass grad?

The Minuteman’s iron is a much heavier gauge and he has different shades of brown, black and gray paint which make it hard to see details clearly.

Over the decades a large maple has grown up in front of him so he’s masked off from view. Was he moved? What a chore that must have been. I seem to remember at some point he was in a different position. Same parking lot though. I think.

I haven’t the slightest idea who Carlton Bell is. I don’t think he’s dead, but I can’t find any other sculptures made by him. Because these are so stylish of the times, the mid 1970s, they were made for a business and not cheaply, it’s doubtful they were a student’s work.

Was Carlton Bell a high school art teacher with an oxy acetylene torch who needed a summer project? Were the two statues mass produced in a far off studio (like the hideous Allow Me in Pioneer Square) and sold to office mall developers via catalogue? Who knows? If you do, I would like to know.