Portlandia (statue)

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Portlandia sculpture.jpg
Portlandia is located in Portland, Oregon
Location in Portland, Oregon
Portlandia is located in Oregon
Portlandia (Oregon)
Portlandia is located in the United States
Portlandia (the United States)
ArtistRaymond Kaskey
TypeCopper repoussé
Dimensions10.62 m (34 ft 10 in)
LocationPortland, Oregon, United States
Coordinates45°30′56.7″N 122°40′44.5″W / 45.515750°N 122.679028°W / 45.515750; -122.679028Coordinates: 45°30′56.7″N 122°40′44.5″W / 45.515750°N 122.679028°W / 45.515750; -122.679028
From March 2018 to September 2019, the statue was temporarily covered by a protective wrap during reconstruction of the Portland Building.

Portlandia is a sculpture by Raymond Kaskey located above the entrance of the Portland Building, in downtown Portland, Oregon, at 1120 SW 5th Avenue. It is the second-largest copper repoussé statue in the United States, after the Statue of Liberty.[1]

The statue is based on the design of the city seal. It depicts a woman dressed in classical clothes, holding a trident in the left hand and reaching down with the right hand. The statue is above street level and faces a relatively narrow, tree-lined street. An accompanying plaque contains a poem by Portland resident Ronald Talney.

"She kneels down, and from the quietness of copper reaches out. We take that stillness into ourselves, and somewhere deep in the earth our breath becomes her city. If she could speak this is what she would say: Follow that breath. Home is the journey we make. This is how the world knows where we are."[2]

The statue was recently covered by a protective shroud, hiding it from view for more than a year, during reconstruction of the building on which it stands.[3] It was shrouded from March 2018[4] until September 2019.[5]


The Seal of Portland, which was the inspiration for Portlandia

Portlandia was a product of Portland's Public Art Program.[6] Kaskey was paid $228,000 in public funds (the equivalent of $500,000 in today's dollars) and reportedly an additional $100,000 in private donations.[7]

Raymond Kaskey and Michael Lasell built sections of the statue in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., and sent the parts to Portland by ship. It was assembled at a barge-building facility, Gunderson, Inc. It was installed on October 6, 1985,[8] after being floated up the Willamette River on a barge.[9]


The statue is 34 feet 10 inches (10.62 m) high[8] and weighs 6.5 short tons (5,900 kg).[7] If standing, the woman would be about 50 feet (15 m) tall.


It has been claimed that Portlandia's relatively low profile results from sculptor Kaskey's close guarding of his intellectual property.[7] Unlike the Statue of Liberty, Portlandia may not be reproduced for any commercial purpose without permission from the artist. The rights to the image of Portlandia remain Kaskey's sole property.[10]

The statue appears in the title sequence of the TV series Portlandia, the result of "lengthy" negotiations with Kaskey that required the statue not be used "in a disparaging way".[7] In 2012, Laurelwood Brewing used an illustration of the statue on the label of Portlandia Pils, a beer it introduced; the brewery later found out about Kaskey's copyright and reached a cash settlement with Kaskey.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Warren, Stuart & Ted Ishikawa. Oregon Handbook. Moon Publications, 1991.
  2. ^ The Unlikely Story of Portlandia's Poem. Oregonian, September 3, 2015
  3. ^ Bell, Jon (November 29, 2017). "City set to kick off $195M reconstruction of the Portland Building, shroud Portlandia statue". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  4. ^ Tenney, Sam (March 1, 2018). "Portlandia protected for renovation project". Daily Journal of Commerce. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  5. ^ "Portlandia is back after months undercover". KOIN. September 12, 2019. Archived from the original on September 14, 2019. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  6. ^ Portlandia in Portland, Oregon
  7. ^ a b c d e Locamthi, John (September 10, 2014). "So Sue Us: Why the Portlandia statue failed to become an icon". Willamette Week. pp. 15–17. Retrieved 2014-09-12.
  8. ^ a b Crick, Rolla J. (October 7, 1985). "Thousands bid ‘Portlandia’ warm welcome: Statue lifted successfully to final spot". The Oregonian, p. A1.
  9. ^ Ota, Alan K. (October 7, 1985). "‘Portlandia’ wends way along river, city streets to delight of onlookers". The Oregonian, p. B3.
  10. ^ Bancud, Michaela (May 27, 2003). "Your best shot at a perfectly sculpted figure". Portland Tribune. Retrieved 2014-09-12.

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