Finley and Gillda have a new fishy friend at the hatchery

January 7, 2014

By Greg Farrar

Finley and Gillda, the two Issaquah Salmon Hatchery mascots, turned in for the night after New Year’s Day, and slept so soundly that they were not awakened by an anonymous overnight visitor with a delivery.

If they have ever yearned for an addition to the family, that wish was being fulfilled while they dreamed.

By Greg Farrar Jane Kuechle, executive director of Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, enjoys the 5-foot salmon chainsaw art mysteriously donated in the wee hours of Jan. 2. The anonymous sculptor left it at the front entrance to the hatchery.

By Greg Farrar
Jane Kuechle, executive director of Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, enjoys the 5-foot salmon chainsaw art mysteriously donated in the wee hours of Jan. 2. The anonymous sculptor left it at the front entrance to the hatchery.

When the two steel sculptures awoke the early morning of Jan. 2, they had a new buddy, 5 feet tall, made of a wooden log, with “Issaquah” carved in its base. The obvious intention was of it being a new permanent artistic attraction for local residents and annual Salmon Days visitors to enjoy.

The chainsaw sculpture standing on the sidewalk near Finley and Gillda depicts a salmon, leaping straight up out of the water in its attempt to swim upstream. Weighing several hundred pounds and freshly cut, it still had the distinctive smell of cedar. The first human to spot it at 7:15 a.m. was Mike Griffin, longtime hatchery specialist, as he arrived for work.

“It kind of scared me at first because it was still dark,” he said. “I like it. We just have to find a place to put it.”

That has been done. The sculpture has been secured in a flowerbed next to the Issaquah Creek pedestrian footbridge.

“We want it to be safe, remain upright and be stable,” said Jane Kuechle, executive director of Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.

“I think it’s gorgeous and it’s going to weather well,” she said. “We’d love to know who did it and we’d like to thank them.”

If the sculptor comes forward, “it would be a good way to promote their artwork, and if they could value it for us, we could give them a tax deduction for an in-kind contribution as allowable by law,” Kuechle added.

“If they want to remain anonymous, that’s their choice,” she said. “We don’t get too many gifts just dropped out of the blue.”

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