Sweet Home business helps Monroe dragon in need

Sweet Home businessman Willy Sieg helped restore Monroe High School’s dragon mascot earlier this summer after it was stolen last December.

The steel sculpture of a dragon, which perches on top of the cupola on the high school’s roof, was stolen in December. A Eugene man, John Lawrence Crymes, 23, has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree theft, first-degree criminal mischief and second-degree criminal trespass in the case.

The sculpture of the dragon, which is 5 feet long and weighs about 70 pounds, was stolen from atop the cupola on Dec. 11 and recovered by Sheriff’s investigators in Crymes’ locked basement on Jan. 18, according to news reports.

Sculptor Mark Fountain and his wife Tamara Fountain, of Cheshire, who created the statue, volunteered to repair the artwork. The dragon itself wasn’t damaged, but a shaft that had held it in place on the cupola had been cut during the theft, school officials said.

The dragon was situated 55 feet off the ground, so the district faced a challenge to get it back where it belonged.

Sieg heard about the incident from a buddy, who actually lives in Sutherlin, he said.

He operates Demolition Inc. and owns a 65-foot Telelect’ bucket truck.

“We just called up and said we’d like to help with the project,” he said.

His demolition business originally focused on tearing down old mills for scrap metal, but with a drop in metal prices, he and his crew have been taking down trees and taking on other projects, he said.

“We’re pretty versatile,” said Sieg, whose grandfather Dave Cooper was an editor of The New Era and then owner/publisher of newspaper from 1972 to 1985.

Sieg said Monroe residents gave him and his crew an ovation as they settled the mascot into its place on the cupola.

“They were excited,” he said. “They were down there clapping and cheering. We were kind of embarrassed.”