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Party like it's 1985 for Portlandia's birthday

COURTESY REGIONAL ARTS & CULTURE COUNCIL  - Raymond Kaskey's iconic Portlandia statue turns 30 this month and the city will throw a party. Singing, games, and ‘80s music will be used to commemorate Portlandia Thursday as the city celebrates the statue’s 30th birthday atop its perch on the Portland Building.

The celebration, held by the Regional Arts & Cultural Council, will run from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Standard Insurance Plaza, located across from the statue at 1100 S.W. 6th Ave.

RACC maintains the city's public art collection.

Mayor Charlie Hales, Arts Commissioner Nick Fish, and former mayor Bud Clark will attend the event, which is free and open to the public.

Additionally, Storm Large will sing “Happy Birthday” to the statue, accompanied by students from Chapman Elementary School. Rose High Bear from the Wisdom of the Elders will provide a native blessing.

Portlandia was designed and built over the course of three years by sculptor Raymond Kaskey in Maryland before being shipped across the country, barged down the Willamette River and installed on the Portland Building in 1985.

“Thirty years ago, Mayor Bud Clark paddled down the Willamette to welcome Portlandia to the City of Roses,” Fish said in a statement. “I’m proud to join Bud, the great Storm Large, my Council colleagues, the Regional Arts & Culture Council family, and the community to wish our copper goddess happy birthday.”

Made of hammered copper sheeting formed around a steel frame, it is the second largest sculpture of its kind after the Statue of Liberty, which is three times larger.

Built on a $198,000 commission from the city of Portland, the statue is based upon Lady Commerce from Portland’s city seal.

The event is co-sponsored by The Standard and Cupcake Jones.

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