There are countless Paul Bunyan figures dotting the American landscape from the heyday of Route 66, but there are none quite like the smiling giant of Portland, Oregon, which was custom built as a monument to Oregon’s statehood.
Built in 1959, the statue deviates from the standard “muffler men” of the era which were generally molded fiberglass figures of the same type. The Bunyan that was erected in the Portland neighborhood of Kenton was a custom created figure made of concrete surrounding a metal frame. The 31-foot-tall lumberman was created to mark the 100-year anniversary of Oregon’s statehood as part of the Centennial Exposition and International Trade Fair. He holds a tall axe and is painted with a goofy grin plastered across his face. A far more permanent calling than any of the usual advertising giants that were created along Route 66.
This permanence shows through today as the figure continues to stand proudly on its street corner home. The figure has been refurbished a number of times over the years and still looks as bright and ready to live out some myths as it did in its conception. And judging by his slightly ridiculous expression, he is idiotically happy to do so.