Immigrant Statue’s image disclosed in Parkrose

You’ll get a good idea of how the ‘Portland Immigrant Statue’ will look after it’s cast in bronze and installed in the Parkrose Triangle from these photos. Find out all about the upcoming Parkrose centenary celebration, too …

Working carefully, sculptor Jim Gion and Anthony Washington remove layers of plastic and cloth from the clay model of the Portland Immigrant Statue.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As do so many great projects – the Portland Immigrant Statue started with an idea by one persib – in this case, a Parkrose resident whose family has deep roots in the soil of outer East Portland, Joe Rossi.

“Although there were many Italian and Asian farmers of what are now outer East Portland, and further east in Multnomah County,” explained Rossi, “This statue is intended to represent all immigrants, past and present, who settled here.”

> To see the statue being sculpted in our previous article: CLICK HERE.

Now that the statue is fully sculpted (and “clothed”), the sculptor gives Joe Rossi his first look at the completed clay model.

The Parkrose Community Foundation commissioned internationally-known sculptor Jim Gion to create the image of a “newcomer” – who stands, hands on hips, looking over the land that is becoming his new home, Rossi told us.

The statue, to be installed in Parkrose in the “triangle” intersection of NE Sandy Boulevard and NE Killingsworth Street, will be formerly dedicated as part Parkrose’s 100th anniversary celebration, culminating on October 1.

Sculptor Gion says the foundry will make a mold of the clay sculpture which they’ll use to cast the parts that will be assembled into the bronze work of art.

Just before the July Parkrose “Barn Bash”, we were invited again to Gion’s studio – just in time to see him and his apprentice,Anthony Washington, unveil the Portland Immigrant Statue – fully modeled in clay.

“We keep it wrapped up, so the clay doesn’t dry out and crack before the molding process begins,” Gion told us. “It took a little more than a week to sculpt it.”

Friends and supporters admire the model that will transform into the Portland Immigrant Statue.

He pointed it that this statue looks “flat” because it is a clay model. “When cast in bronze, and the Patina added, then every detail will come to light,” Gion said.

As we marveled as his work, we noticed that even the man’s satchel is highly detailed, complete with worn straps and buckles.

Mary Walker, from the neighborhood association, Joe Rossi, and Amelia Salvador of Trinity Event Productions.

Mary Walker, Chair of the Parkrose Neighborhood Association, gazed at the statue with admiration. “I’m so pleased to be part of this. Not only is this wonderful for Parkrose, but also for the City of Portland. We’re almost all immigrants from somewhere.”

Upon further inspection, Walker added, “it’s amazing that we will have a world-class sculpture here in Parkrose.”

Centenary summer continues in Parkrose
At least two more events will provide opportunities for area residents to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Parkrose.

  • September 10 –Pacific Northwest Federal Credit Union sponsors “Movie Night” at Rossi Farm.
  • October 1 – This day they’ll dedicate the Portland Immigrant Statue – with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and a parade down NE Sandy Boulevard from the “Parkrose Triangle”, where the statue is located, to Parkrose High School for a reception.

For more information, or to become a sponsor of the Portland Immigrant Statue project, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

To learn more about the Parkrose Community Foundation, see their Facebook page: CLICK HERE to open it.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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