Work crews will determine if the iconic statue can be repaired. The statue has stood on TV Highway for 30 years.

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: GEOFF PURSINGER - Yellow caution tape surrounds the Chief Kno-Tah statue in Shute Park, which was unjured by a falling Oak tree this week. It's unclear if the statue, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, can be repaired.
Shute Park's famed Chief Kno-Tah statue is suffering from a major headache this week after an oak tree fell, damaging the 30-year-old statue.

According to Hillsboro Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Mary Loftin, high winds brought down a tree at Shute Park on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, which lent a glancing blow to the statue's forehead.

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: GEOFF PURSINGER - A close up of the Chief Kno-Tah statue shows the damage done to the iconic artwork, which has stood in Shute Park since 1987.The blow carved off a piece of the statue, which is now listing slightly to the West, Loftin said.

Chief Kn-Tah has stood in Shute Park, 953 S.E. Maple St., since 1987, overlooking Tualatin Valley Highway near the city's downtown. Loftin said it's unclear how expensive repairs would be, or if they are possible. More information is expected to be released early next week.

The area around the 25-foot-tall statue has been cordoned off for the public's safety. Loftin said that a crew from the city's park's department will evaluate the damage and determine next steps. Members of the city's public arts commissions will also be evaluating the statue to determine if it can be repaired.

Chief Kno-Tah has been a mainstay in Hillsboro for decades and Loftin said that even before the tree damage, the statue was beginning to show signs of aging.

"It's probably coming to the end of its life," Loftin said.

The iconic statue was hand carved by artist Peter "Wolf" Toth in 1987 as part of a series of large native American statues known as the "Trail of Whispering Giants." Toth carved of more than 70 Native American statues across the country. Astoria has the state's only other Toth statue, known as Ikala Nawan. The first Whispering Giants statue in the Portland area was erected in Vancouver, Wash. in 1974, but was taken down several years ago due to rot.

"Many of Wolf's statues are showing their age," Loftin said. "Many have been removed. There aren't many of them left anymore."

The statue is named after a chief of the Atfalati tribe of Native Americans, which lived in Washington County. The real-life Kno-Tah signed a treaty with white settlers, ceding the tribe's ancestral home on the Tualatin Plains.

By Geoff Pursinger
Associate Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
Pamplin Media Group
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