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by: VERN UYETAKE - David Morris of the Lake Oswego Fire Department is lowered down to unhook the top of the newest addition to Lake Oswego's public art collection, 'Totem,'  as it was installed on Monday.“Totem,” by local artist Travis Pond, was installed Monday in front of the Jean Road fire station. A dedication ceremony is planned for today (Thursday) at 1 p.m. The public is invited to the festivities, which will include drumming and a blessing by members of the Confederate Tribes of the Grand Ronde.

The 17-foot-tall sculpture, made of recycled and reclaimed metal objects, has a wingspan of 10 feet. Included in its structure are a wolf, a beaver, an orca, a frog and, placed at the top, a raven, all made of metal parts that had previously been used in the community. Students at the former Bryant Elementary School and Lakeridge Junior High (formerly Waluga Junior High) donated many of the items incorporated in the sculpture, including a music stand, three-hole punch and legs from desks and chairs.

Bryant neighborhood resident Don Caldwell was the driving force behind the fundraising effort to commission the sculpture. Formerly the chair of the Arts Council of Lake Oswego’s board of directors, Caldwell is a strong believer in the value of public art.

“Travis’ original totem sculpture had been a part of the city’s Gallery Without Walls rotating sculpture exhibit and was on loan for two years,” said Caldwell. “It had been a favorite of many people in our neighborhood. When it was about to leave, I thought about how it would look on the knoll by the fire station, across from the school. I drive past that spot every day and walk my dog by it. It’s a busy corner, overlooking tennis courts, soccer and baseball fields. Travis’ work is amazing — he takes junk and creates these fantastic animals. Art belongs out in the neighborhoods, where people live — not just in museums or a sculpture park. I want people, especially children to see it, walk around it, smile and say, ‘Wow, that’s neat.’”

Caldwell provided seed money to commission Lake Oswego’s “Totem.” Other individuals and businesses have contributed to the fundraising as well. The Arts Council is seeking donations for the last 35 percent of the commission price. All donations are tax deductible. Having a stainless steel plaque installed in their honor in the sculpture’s plaza will recognize those making contributions of $100 or more. Donations can be mailed to the Arts Council of Lake Oswego, P.O. Box 369, Lake Oswego, OR 97034. Write “Totem” in the subject line.

For more information, visit artscouncillo.org.

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