SCIO, ORe. - A special piece of Scio's pride is lost as their town's fowl mascot, Mr. Wheeler, is nowhere to be found.
Mr. Wheeler is an Americana breed rooster that became the town's mascot in December, after Scio's former mascot, Big Red, was mauled by a dog in 2006.
"We noticed about a week ago that he isn't where he normally is," said Audie Heikkila, owner of Scio Feed and Country Store.
The rooster wandered to Heikkila's store almost eight months ago. However, Heikkila said it took a while for the bird to get used to the atmosphere.
"He was pretty skittish at first and we didn't think he'd work out," Heikkila said.
When it turned cold outside, however, the rooster moved inside the feed store and calmed down quite a bit. Heikkila said the rooster was just starting to warm up to the community when he disappeared.
"Mr. Wheeler was working his way into the role," Heikkila said. "He kind of warmed his way into everybody's heart."
Some residents in Scio have their own theories of what could have happened to Mr. Wheeler.
"I think someone took it home and ate it," said David Sloan, a resident of Scio.
"I think someone took him home and used him for their stocks for breeding to get their eggs and stuff," said Juston Cook, another resident of Scio.
While feed store owner Audie Heikkila is fearing the worst, he is still trying to be positive about the matter.
"It's summer and he could have got a couple of hens and flew the coop," said Heikkila.
The feed store owner said that if Mr. Wheeler is not found, he would prefer for there to not be another replacement.
"This happened so quickly and they get pretty attached to their bird here," Heikkila said.
The town plans to keep looking as they hope their beloved Mr. Wheeler will make it back home. They are building a snack bar near the Big Red Pavilion and they are thinking about naming the facility after Mr. Wheeler.
If you have seen the town's fowl mascot, please contact the Scio Feed and Country Store at (503) 394-3389.