Before it stands tall next to the USS Missouri at Pearl Harbor, the magnificent statue of Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz created by Troutdale sculptor Rip Caswell will be presented to the Portland-metropolitan public.

Caswell anxiously awaits the unveiling.

“I’d love to get the word out to veterans,” Caswell says. “I’d love to have as many veterans there as possible, especially from World War II.”

There will be two presentations, actually: 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 31, at Troutdale city park (across from Caswell’s studio at 253 East Columbia River Hwy.) with international recording artist Gino Vannelli — who lives in Troutdale — singing the national anthem; and the “bon voyage” ceremony, 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, an event more for the public, also at the park. The Hawaiian-themed Aug. 2 event will honor veterans, who will be adorned with leis. Soon after, the statue will be shipped to Hawaii, where it’ll be placed next to the moored USS Missouri on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor on Sept. 2.

As featured in the Jan. 24 Portland Tribune, Caswell received the commission to construct the eight-foot bronze Nimitz piece by the Naval Order of the United States, after an 18-month application process. Caswell, who has produced more than 200 bronze works in the past 20-plus years, considered it an honor to create the Nimitz statue, especially researching the man and his achievements as the World War II Pacific Theater commander. He worked on the project with his son, Chad Caswell, and many others.

“It went pretty smoothly,” says Caswell, although he tells of one of the many metal parts that “blew out” during the casting process and had to be reconstructed.

“There were 30 to 40 parts we did on it, and all of it had to be welded together and seamlines sanded ... and we did a lot of reinforcement in it, a lot of stainless steel,” he says. “Everybody understood the importance of the project, from the wax masters to the welders to the patina makers.”

Fighting cancer

In recent years, teriyaki sauce mogul Junki Yoshida and his wife, Linda, have made fighting the ravages of cancer their own life quest. The fight continues when they play host to their fourth annual event, the Artful Giving Blanket Concert, noon to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 27, at their Troutdale estate, 29330 S.E Stark St. — right on the Sandy River. It’s $25 for general admission when purchased online ( or $35 at the show, with proceeds benefiting the Providence Cancer Research Center and Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.

World-record huggers?

Hoyt Arboretum and Treecology are organizing an event, set for 2 p.m. Saturday, July 20, in the quest to set the Guinness Book of World Records mark for most tree hugs in one location.

The location: Hoyt Arboretum, 4000 S.W. Fairview Blvd. in Washington Park. Info:, or 503-865-8733.

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