‘Portland Immigrant Statue’ project nears completion

Find out why this project has personal meaning to the construction company’s project manager. And, learn more about the Parkrose Centennial Celebration, coming up on October 1 …

The construction crew makes sure all of the concrete forms are ready to be poured at the new home of the Portland Immigrant Statue.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
More than three years in the planning, the Portland Immigrant Statue, to be erected in Parkrose, will soon be in place.

As part of the Parkrose Centennial Celebration on October 1, the statue will be unveiled.

One of the final steps was pouring a concrete base on which the statue will be mounted in the “Parkrose Triangle”, the traffic island at NE 98th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard.

  • See the “groundbreaking” take place this story: CLICK HERE.
  • Here’s what the statue will look like; see this story: CLICK HERE.
  • Read our story on how this project came about: CLICK HERE.

September 21 marked another milestone in the project. The crew from Walsh Construction was putting finishing touches on the forms, ready for the concrete to be poured.

Walsh Construction’s project manager, Ken Bello, says he feels a personal connection with the man depicted in the Portland Immigrant Statue.

“This is somewhat of an unusual project,” said Ken Bello, the project manager with Walsh Construction. “But we have a fully-skilled and competent concrete crew; they can handle anything. The biggest thing today is the highway traffic issues around the island – moving the concrete delivery trucks in. We have to be careful and diligent when doing an operation like this.”

Asked what he personally thinks about the project, Bello immediately answered, “I think it’s fantastic.”

Ken Bello and the project’s creator, Joe Rossi, watch as the cement pumping rig moves into place.

“Being an immigrant myself,” Bello said, “the statue represents me. I was born in Nigeria and came to the United States in 1983. When I found out about the project, and learned more about it, I was thinking ‘that was me – I came her looking for work and an opportunity in Portland’.”

When Walsh Construction agreed to help with the project, Bello said, “I was really excited to help out as much as I can. I’m grateful that Walsh Construction is very supportive about the project as well.”

Joe Rossi says he has a hard time not lending a hand – but is willing to leave this work to the professionals.

The project’s originator, Joe Rossi, was on hand. “I’m used to working on projects; it’s kind of hard to stand here and just watch – but this crew knows what it’s doing.”

After thinking and talking about the project for more than three years, Rossi described his feelings as he watched concrete being pumped into the wall forms and base. “It’s surreal. But I’m really excited that it’s happening.”

Rossi said he went to the foundry and saw the statue in progress last week. “They’re smoothing out the welding lines, and putting on the patina. It’s going to be beautiful.”

On this site, the Portland Immigrant Statue will be dedicated on October 1.

Statue unveiled on October 1
At 10:00 a.m. on October 1, the Parkrose Centennial Celebration kicks off with the unveiling of the Portland Immigrant Statue – complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony dedicating the statue.

A community parade celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of Parkrose begins at 11:30 a.m., traveling from NE 99th Avenue along Sandy Boulevard to NE 112th Avenue, then heading south and ending at Parkrose High School at Northeast 122nd Avenue and Shaver Street.

A reception for both the statue unveiling and the Parkrose centennial celebration begins at 12:30 p.m. at Parkrose High School; a Parkrose 100th birthday cake along with beverages will be served. For all of these events, the public is invited to attend. The Parkrose Farmers Market will also be held at the high school that day.

For more information, see the Parkrose Centennial Celebration Facebook page: CLICK HERE.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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