This is a letter within a letter. The first letter was sent to each member of the Pendleton City Council in December 2012 regarding public art. No reply or acknowledgment was ever received.

RE: Public Art

I’ve been waiting for someone to stand up or speak out about the proposed statue of the ‘madam’ on Main Street. Maybe someone who has lived here longer than my 44 years.

I wonder if there are more deserving founding fathers such as Roy Raley to set a more honorable precedent for public art. Or even a memorial to the Chinese who were forced to live underground and help build the railroad through town. That’s especially timely since Pendleton has just been awarded membership in Union Pacific’s Train Town USA Registry (East Oregonian 12/1/12).

Does the public have a choice? We were invited for input when the River Walk statue was proposed and we have the beautiful herons.

Wouldn’t the madam statue be more suitable inside their entrance. I’m sensitive to the family’s loss but I’m also thinking of the Children’s Museum just a half block away.

I support Pendleton any way I can such as local shopping, sending an extra check in with the city water bill for Pioneer Park Repair, etc. I’ve been making up baskets to mail off with Buckin’ Bean coffee, Barhyte mustard, items that the school children are selling, bazaars, etc. It’s fun and local.

So to say there have been no objections is not entirely true. And what are you going to tell your children and grandchildren when they ask who she is? As for me, I’ll avoid the block entirely.

Perhaps a better tribute to Ms. Severe would be a statue of herself or the famous Severe saddles; or again, the Chinese, as they were the occupants of the underground.

Five years ago our church wanted to paint a professionally designed mural on the side of our building portraying early Christians on the Oregon Trail. We were told not to paint it as it might be offensive to some people. How about those of us who are offended with a madam on Main Street?

Joan Pfaff


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