Portland sculpture’s umbrella removed for repairs

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No, the umbrella was not stolen. It just needed a few repairs.

On Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, it was discovered that the umbrella of Portland’s iconic “Allow Me” statue was missing. The Regional Arts & Culture Council said it was removed for repairs. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The missing umbrella from Portland’s well-loved “Allow Me” sculpture wasn’t stolen, officials said. It was removed for repairs. 

According to Keith Lachowicz, public art collections manager from the Regional Arts & Culture Council, the umbrella was vandalized in late October. Someone bent the umbrella’s shaft. 

Pioneer Courthouse Square staff told RACC about the damage and the umbrella was removed and taken to a local fabricator for repairs. The fabricator will install a stiffer umbrella shaft and the umbrella will be more securely attached at the anchor point where the canopy touches the back of the figure’s head. 

Lachowicz said due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a high volume of fabricator repair requests, the umbrella might not be reinstalled on the statue until after Jan. 1, 2021. 

Lachowicz said this is not the first time the umbrella has been damaged and repaired.

“All in all it, and the rest of the well-loved sculpture, has worn and endured very well since it was installed in the square in 1984,” he said.  

Lachowicz specified there’s no indication the damage to the sculpture is tied to recent protests. 

Many people know him as “The Umbrella Man,” but the bronze statue at Pioneer Courthouse Square is actually titled “Allow Me.” In one hand, he holds an umbrella. With the other, he’s pointing a finger to hail a cab. 

The sculpture was an anonymous gift to the city in 1984 in the name of Harry Schwartz, a New York department store Magnate with family ties in Portland. 

Artist J. Seward Johnson created 7 versions all from the same casting, and they live all over, from Chicago to Los Angeles.  Portland’s is most iconic. 

“Allow Me” got a makeover in the summer of 2017 when the Square was renovated. The 460 pound sculpture was removed for 6 months while art caretakers cleaned, repainted it and put a protective coating on it.  

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