An important journey on your way to becoming a Portlander (for all you just-got-to-towners), is the Waterfront Jog (or Yog, if you will). The Waterfront is comprised of sidewalk along the East and West side of the Willamette River in downtown. The Waterfront jog is a 2.5 mile loop of pavement between the Steel and the Hawthorne bridges. The loop features: jogging next to traffic, under a bridge, on floating concrete and on the Eastside Esplanade… a statue of former Portland Mayor Vera Katz.
Serving as Mayor from 1993 to 2005, Katz is consider one of the best in Portland’s history. Unfortunately, she became unable to run for for Mayor due to medical reasons, and the entire City of Portland lost an important leader.* In an effort to immortalize Katz for her public service, a statue was unveiled on the Waterfront in 2003. The creepiest statue ever sculpted.
As you approach, you aren’t quite sure exactly what the small figure is. Is it a weary jogger? Is it a small child? Is it a transient? Not, it’s Vera. Seated in the “Listener” position, Katz welcomes all who pass by on the Eastbank Esplanade. The statue has the basic likeness of the Mayor, but non of the charm. Undoubtedly, the Katz statue has been a victim of public affection from the denizens who jog by. I encourage you to visit Vera’s statue and experience the magic for yourself.
*The next mayor was Mr. Irrelevant, Tom Potter