Monday, December 23, 2013

North Denver Plaza

In yesterday's Paul Bunyan post, I mentioned that the rival Paul Bunyan statue at the Trees of Mystery has a Babe, the Blue Ox at his side, and ours doesn't. This is basically true, but when the MAX Yellow Line went in they added a sort of reference to Paul's bovine companion, in another little plaza right across Denver Ave. from Bunyan himself. TriMet's MAX yellow line art guide just says this:

N Denver Plaza
Brian Borrello's seating sculpture was inspired by Babe the Blue Ox.

The "seating sculpture" being four sorta-benches that look like blue hooves. This terse blurb at least names the mini-park and tells us who created the hooves. Turns out he's created several other things that have appeared here before: People's Bike Library of Portland on Burnside, downtown; Lents Hybrids at the Foster Rd. MAX station on the Green Line, and Silicon Forest at the MAX Yellow Line's Rose Quarter station.

So the question remains why we didn't get a blue ox in the first place. The Trees of Mystery has one, and it turns out a shorter Bunyan in Bemidji, Minnesota has a blue ox as well. The Oregonian database never mentions the idea, as far as I can tell, so we're left trying to guess. Obviously the expense and finding a place to put it would've been factors, but the other key thing is that the longtime largest employer in Kenton wasn't the timber industry, but the old Union Stockyards just to the north of here. If beef is what's for dinner, maybe you don't want to go portraying a giant ox as an intelligent, friendly and loyal companion. I can't prove that's the reason, but it makes a much better story than if it just cost too much, or there wasn't room for it, or that building an ox just didn't occur to anyone.

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