Jan 5, 2024 - Culture

Meet SW Portland's giant troll, Ole Bolle

On the left, a large wooden troll is kneeling, and peeking into a small house. On the right, a blue wall with windows shows the face of the troll outside.

Ole Bolle peeks into a house in a wooded area on the campus of Portland's Nordic Northwest. Photo: Rachel La Corte/Axios

While in Portland last week, I made the trek to visit the only Oregon-based giant troll included in the "Northwest Trolls: Way of the Bird King" public art installation.

Details: Ole Bolle — located in a wooded area on the campus of Nordic Northwest — is a creation of Danish artist Thomas Dambo, who has crafted troll sculptures around the world.

  • The 19-foot sculpture in southwest Portland is one of six constructed in the Pacific Northwest.
  • The other five trolls all reside in Washington: on Bainbridge Island, in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood, in Issaquah, on Vashon Island and in West Seattle.

Ole Bolle is kneeling, peeking into a small red house, supposedly looking for cookies (though when I sent these pics to friends and family they assumed more hostile intent from Ole).

  • The troll was constructed with recycled wood and other materials and will be on-site for at least three years, The Oregonian reported after the installation was completed last summer.

What they're saying: "I want people to know that trash has value," Dambo said in a statement last summer announcing the Pacific Northwest project. "My trolls do that, and also help me tell stories, like the legends I grew up with."

The back of a giant wooden troll is seen, kneeling and sitting on his foot.
Ole Bolle was constructed with recycled wood and other materials. Photo: Rachel La Corte/Axios
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