Brookings will soon receive an Evergreen Bank bear of its own - the first of five to come - it was announced Friday. The first "Brookings Bear" is currently being painted blue and gold, the colors of Brookings-Harbor High School.
The statue, to be delivered to town next spring, features a standing bear wearing a football helmet and cradling a football. It stands about 9 feet tall and weighs 150 pounds.
The city is the first among Oregon cities to have a bear bestowed upon it by the bank.
"I think it (the reason to provide a bear here) was the level of enthusiasm the community expressed for them after their visit a couple of years ago," said City Manager Gary Milliman. "There was a lot of interest."
Mayor Ron Hedenskog has another opinion.
"We have to give credit to (Councilor Kelly) McClain," he said. "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."
Neither Hedenskog nor Milliman know where the first bear will be placed, nor what the themes of future bears will be.
Evergreen Bank placed six bear statues in downtown Brookings this summer at the city's request, and more bears will be coming in the years ahead, Hedenskog said.
The six bears currently visiting Brookings include a baker, two pirates, an Egyptian-themed ursine, a samurai and a metallic bare-bear.
"Once we started talking to them about the bears, they said they'd make us one," Hedenskog said. "I said, 'Let's make a Brookings bear. And our football players are the Bruins. Go Bears!"
The public arts committee will solicit comment about future bear themes.
Brookings Mayor Ron Hedenskog, Councilor Kelly McClain, Public Works and Development Director Loree Pryce and Public Arts Committee members Scott Clapson and Lea Ray visited the "Bear Hotel" in Grants Pass this week to discuss the project with bank representatives, and were allowed a peek at the new Bruin Bear.
Evergreen Bank placed five bear statues in downtown Brookings this past summer at the city's request, and more bears will be coming in the years ahead, Hedenskog said.
"We were able to meet with the artists working on the bears, Bob and Dell, who demonstrated the bear-making process," Hedenskog said. "Evergreen will be picking up the bears that are here now sometime in the spring and they will return, along with the first Brookings Bear later in the spring."