The Evergreen Federal Bank bears haven’t even been gone a month, and already Brookings City Council Member Kelly McClain is clamoring to get the larger-than-life-size bruins back.
“I don’t want it to go away,” he said. “I want to be the home for a lot of them — like the lady who wrote the letter to the editor: I want it to look like a complete carnival here.”
Six fiberglass bears adorned Chetco Avenue since last May in preparation for the bank’s 80th anniversary this fall.
While the bears were on loan to Brookings, artisans in Grants Pass were manufacturing a football player bear to be brought here for permanent display in June.
The statue features a standing bear wearing a football helmet and cradling a football. It stands about 9 feet tall and weighs 150 pounds.
The only problems associated with the visiting bruins last year was that the state Department of Transportation noted some of them had been mounted on sidewalks and rights-of-way belonging to the state — and easy situation to remedy, city officials noted.
The bears were taken back to the “Bear Hotel” in the valley to be refurbished after months in the coastal sun.
McClain wants to start making plans and maps immediately so when Evergreen Bank is ready to transport a sleuth of bears, all the preparation will be done. He envisions establishing 20 to 25 locations throughout the city in which to place the ursine art pieces, which have proven popular with tourists and locals alike.
Evergreen Federal Bank, based in Grants Pass, has dozens of bears depicting various walks of life. This summer, two pirate-bears, a bear sporting an Egyptian motif, a baker, a samurai and a bare-bear, joined the beast permanently installed at the local branch of the bank.
“We have to give credit to Kelly,” Mayor Ron Hedenskog said earlier this year. “He’s the one who nagged them to bring the bears in. He nagged me, he nagged the city manager, until we got some agreement with Evergreen. He was relentless.”