Elements take toll on Oregon landmark

Elements take toll on Oregon landmark
The Lacey Lady

This is Part 1 of a 6-Part Series

MILWAUKIE, Ore. - For decades, a B-17G sitting atop what was once a gas station has been one of this Oregon town's most talked about, and perhaps most visited, icons.

But these days the famous airplane dubbed the "Lacey Lady" is deteriorating fast, and the owners realize that if they want to preserve this unique piece of local history, something has to be done.

Over the years, the elements have taken a heavy toll on the World War II airplane that has long drawn attention along Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard in Milwaukie, a small city south of Portland.

The B-17's metal is now corroded. Parts are either damaged or missing. And the nose is visibly absent, having been removed so it could be restored.

"The only reason why we've left the plane up there at this point in time is because it's so expensive for us to come up with suitable, secure storage," said Jayson Scott, who is the grandson of the late Art Lacey, the businessman who brought the B-17 to Milwaukie back in 1947. "We haven't wanted to bring it down and have it where people would be able to just go and pick over what remaining parts we still have."

And then there are the birds: dozens of them have taken roost on the old relic and have made both the inside and outside of the airplane their home.

"All of our attempts to go out there and remove them from the plane have not been particularly successful," said Jayson. "They're very persistent."

Follow the story of Art Lacey's "Lacey Lady" and his family's efforts to preserve this piece of history this week in a special 6-part series. Watch for a new installment daily at noon through June 16.