Portlandia turns 30 on October 8; community celebration scheduled

Portlandia, © Raymond Kaskey

PORTLAND, ORE — The public is invited to attend a free party in celebration of Portlandia’s 30th birthday onThursday, October 8th from noon-1:30pm at The Standard Insurance Plaza across from the Portland Building, 1120 SW 5th Avenue.

Portlandia, designed and constructed by Raymond Kaskey, is made of hammered copper sheeting about the thickness of a dime formed around a steel armature. She took three years to complete and is one-third the size of the Statue of Liberty, the only larger statue of this kind in the nation. The sculpture was funded through the city’s percent-for-art requirement related to the construction of The Portland Building. The building’s architect, Michael Graves, had suggested a statue of Lady Commerce (from Portland’s City Seal) as part of his design for the building; Kaskey won the $198,000 commission and named the sculpture “Portlandia.”  

Upon her completion in 1985, Portlandia was shipped across the country by rail, from Maryland to Oregon, in eight pieces. After being reassembled in a local shipyard, she rode by river barge and truck to her final destination, welcomed by 10,000 Portland residents along the riverbank, streets, and bridges. 

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Arts Commissioner Nick Fish, and former mayor Bud Clark will be on hand to help RACC celebrate. Rose High Bear from Wisdom of the Elders will provide a Native blessing, and Storm Large will sing “Happy Birthday” to the copper goddess with students from Chapman Elementary School. Other festivities include games, photo opportunities and ‘80s music. Refreshments will be served. 

“Thirty years ago, Mayor Bud Clark paddled down the Willamette to welcome Portlandia to the City of Roses,” said Commissioner Nick Fish. “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.”

Portlandia’s 30th birthday party is presented by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, which maintains the city’s public art collection, and is sponsored in part by The Standard and Cupcake Jones.