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What’s the Deal With: The rocket statue on Holly Street?

Commissioned for a closed business, the statue remains as a playful art piece

Made by local designer Alexei Ford, the rocket statue on West Holly Street aims for fun and nostalgia. (Jemma Alexander/Cascadia Daily News)
By Jemma Alexander News Intern

Before Rocket Donuts left 306 W. Holly St., the owner commissioned local designer Alexei Ford to build a 13-foot rocket-shaped sign.

“What if we did you a 30-foot rocket, that is an actual rocket,” Ford recalled telling Jim Swift, owner of the donut shop.  

Swift’s childhood loves — donuts and sci-fi movies — came together to create a shop where patrons could get the Donut of the Month while looking at life-sized robots, ray guns and ’50s sci-fi movie posters. The business closed in September 2019 after 15 years.  

Ford, owner of Alexei Ford Design Build, was inspired by Swift’s enthusiasm for these movies and what he found at the scrap yard. The rocket is made of old stop signs, oxygen containers, light fixtures, airplane parts and more.  

“There is not a stitch of new aluminum on there,” Ford said.  

Initially, Ford wanted to build a structure a kid could climb inside and look out the porthole of, but due to liability issues, that never became a reality.  

Ford emphasized that the structure isn’t high art — it shouldn’t be taken too seriously.   

“It’s for fun, it’s for kids to look at and make their imaginations go wild,” Ford said.  

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