STRANGEST INLAND NW LANDMARK - The Garbage Goat -The Inland Northwest itself is a pretty strange place. As a loose collective of people with disparate agendas and cities and towns haunted by the echoes of past glories, it never seems completely comfortable in its own skin -- always searching, with paradoxes and dichotomies lurking around every corner. It's only fitting then, I suppose, that a corten steel goat with a vacuum pipe shoved up its rear would take top honors in this wild card category.
As you might imagine, we reeled in responses that ran the gamut from interesting (the wild horse sculpture above the Columbia gorge near Vantage) to lame (see 2nd place) to scary (the Billy Burger sign in Wilbur) to just plain weird (a tossup between the "world's largest wooden beagle" and "Assumption church").
But when all was said and done, the goat got it. The garbage-eating goat in Riverfront Park, just east of the Carousel, has delighted the young, the young at heart and the simple of mind since its introduction into the local psyche nearly 30 years ago. Its eco-friendly disposition and willingness to suck up literally anything shoved in front of its eternally gaping maw made it a natural addition to a world's exposition (Expo '74) celebrating "tomorrow's fresh, clean environment." The goat turned out to be a fun way to "pitch in" and properly dispose of well, anything.
Alas, there were times when our favorite trash-eating quadruped bit off more than it could inhale. Yes, as many a youngster over the years discovered through the bitter tears of disappointment, the goat was frequently out of order. But there were also just as many instances where our goat was in top form, when all it took was a little sunshine, a fistful of gum wrappers and the friendly whoosh of a few dozen amps of sucking power to once again make everything right with the world.