[Welcome to our "Say Nice Things About Portland" guide to the city! Did you know that this feature package is also in PRINT?? That's right, this is our first print product since the start of the pandemic, and we're psyched to produce a lot more. Find the "Say Nice Things" guide in over 500 locations around the city, and if you'd like to see more guides you can hold, please consider making a small contribution to the Mercury, please and thank you!—eds]
Portland is known for being an arts town, as well as for being a sexy town. What’s the middle part of the Venn diagram of those two forces? That’s right: sexy statues. Now, there’s been a lot of chatter in the news of late about Portland’s toppling of some colonizer statues, as well as maybe scuffling up an elk a little bit, but we still have a lot of statues to celebrate, and many of them are hot as hell. So I’m turning the hubbub into hubba hubba and presenting you with this, your official list of Portland’s Sexiest Statues!
1. Joan of Arc
The extremely shiny and very babely statue of Joan of Arc on her horse, sword raised, sits in the middle of the gigantic roundabout at NE Glisan and Cesar Chavez. She’s got a bold attitude and battle gear that you just know would be a good time. I always wondered why anyone would want to riot around a dumb elk when you’ve got a warrior as fierce and DTF as Joanie here, and in such a convenient location! Ever wonder why we have a statue of Joan of Arc in the first place? This isn’t France! Well, the statue was gifted to Portland 100 years ago to honor our World War I veterans, for whom Joan of Arc served as patron saint. So now when you drive in circles trying to get in or out of Hollywood, you can appreciate the statue’s history and significance to Portland as well as her fine physique.
2. Umbrella Man
The statue of a sexy businessman in Pioneer Square is officially called “Allow Me,” but everybody calls him Umbrella Man, because he’s holding an umbrella. Obvious? Perhaps to some. For me, however, this only adds to his air of mystery. We Portlanders are famously umbrella-averse. Plus, this guy is wearing a suit and hailing a cab, neither of which are things most of us do. As such, Umbrella Man’s appeal comes from his out-of-town-edness. Like who is this sexy stranger? Why is he in Portland? What’s he into? I wonder if he needs directions somewhere. I wonder if he needs directions to my house.
3. The Quest
Not to be confused with QUEST, the downtown Portland nightclub which also got pulses racing (RIP), “The Quest” is a statue featuring one guy, three babes (and one kid who seems pretty out of place, so for the purposes of this piece’s vibe we’re going to forget they’re there). The bods are naked and smooth, like giant white marble Barbies, and they rest atop a fountain in front of the Standard Insurance Building. Don’t you always feel like planning for life’s unexpected events after eyeballing some not-quite-realistic knockers? I know I do! “The Quest” has been airing out their nether regions in downtown for over 50 years, and I hope they never find what they’re looking for, so we can keep ogling their search for decades to come.
4. Vera Katz
As you know, Vera Katz served as Portland’s mayor from 1993 to 2005, and her bronze likeness has been resting comfortably on a bench on the East Bank Esplanade (which she had a major hand in developing) since 2006. The life-size statue shows Katz smiling her famous wide smile and leaning slightly forward, like you’re both on your second glass of wine and she’s enraptured by a brilliant story you’re telling. “Oh you,” Vera would say coyly. “You certainly are a singular wit!” Is Katz, a civil servant who fled Nazi Germany with her family as a baby, appropriate to be sexualized on this list of Portland’s sexiest statues? That depends on if you’re horny for public service or not. I for sure am, and I’m the one writing this list… so, Vera Katz statue? You are a fox.
5. Paul Bunyan
The Bunyan statue in Portland’s Kenton neighborhood has been there since Oregon’s centennial celebrations in 1959. The folk hero doesn’t have any real connection to Oregon except, presumably, that Oregon totally loves a guy with a beard and a beanie and an ass that won’t quit. Although there are statues of Paul in a lot of places, ours is the hottest because of his gentle smile and non-aggressive posture. He just is. Just as he lovingly gazed at the now-defunct strip club Dancin’ Bare for oh, so many years, Paul would for sure lovingly whisper sweet nothings into the ear of any Portland partner. (BTW, our Paul is pansexual.) Gruff, yet tender, Paul has his plaid shirt rolled up to his elbows to show off his forearms—just how we like our romance heroes. Meanwhile his upper arms are jacked for easily chopping down trees… as well as embracing you in the warmest, safest, sexiest hug.