In June, it was announced the Garibaldi Lions Club Lumbermens and Railroaders Park would be receiving some “sprucing up,” which ironically may include a very large piece of cedar.
At 94-years-old and an original founder of the park, Gerald “Pat” Patterson has still been searching for interesting additions to the park. But lo and behold, what he was looking for was right under his nose the whole time.
Patterson noticed one day a large cedar totem pole lying outside of his grandson Jeff Cherry’s home. Patterson instantly knew it would be a great addition to the park and would compliment his favorite part of the park nicely: the Rayonier Lumber Co. No. 90 locomotive train.
“When I saw this, I thought, gee that’d look great down there by old number 90 and I asked Jeff and he said sure, let’s make it happen,” Patterson said.
The nearly 15-foot, 800-pound totem pole was a product of one of Cherry’s hobbies – wood carving.
“I’ve done lots of things like this before,” Cherry said. “I’ve carved a hawk with a fish and other small projects like that. But for this, I just decided to do something bigger and it ended up being this totem pole.”
A few years ago, Cherry discovered the large piece of cedar down near the creek in his field. He ended up hauling it up near his house and got to work carving out his own totem pole.
“It was just one of those things where I wasn’t busy and wanted to make something cool and it only took me about four hours to carve,” Cherry said. “The most detailed part is the eagle on the top and there was a beaver and bear on the bottom but it was a little rotten so I had to cut it off.”
Cherry said the totem still needs a little work before it is displayed in the park, such as sanding, detailing and possibly painting it. Once it is all finished up, Patterson would like to dedicate the work of art to the Scoval family of the Chinook Indian tribe, who he met when he first moved to Garibaldi in 1943.
“They were a very nice family and long-time residents of Tillamook County,” Patterson said. “Joe Scoval was from the Nehalem group and his wife Minnie would always say she was from the Tillamook group, but they were both apart of the Chinook tribe.”
Cherry said it would be an honor to have his work displayed in the park and dedicated to the Scovals. However, his inspiration for the project came from his Blackfoot heritage and said he feels the totem pole is a personal illustration of himself.
“A totem is supposed to be a representation of your spirit, so it’s whatever really comes to you when you’re carving it out,” Cherry said. “I had a few things in mind as to what I wanted to incorporate like the eagle and wolf, but it was constantly changing once I started.”
Although the timetable for when the totem pole will end up in the park is undecided, and the future of some of the park’s items may be in question, Patterson is adamant about one day having the pole proudly displayed next to the No. 90 train because of the connection he and his grandson have to the old steam engine.
“He (Cherry) used to play on the old number 90,” Patterson said. “He’d sit in the engineer’s seat and pretend he was running through Garibaldi at 100 miles per hour with all the smoke a-flyin’ and the whistles blowin’, as most the kids would. So I think it would be pretty neat to have it displayed next to it.”