TDI -- Reporter's Blog

Mar. 5, 2010 at 4:12pm

Tacoma's Homeless Goddess of Commerce

What to do with the 700-pound, seven-foot tall, $122,000 bronze Goddess of Commerce statue?

Place it in Tollefson Plaza? Rejected.

Let the City take ownership of the statue and site it in Pierce Transit Plaza, which is on Broadway and near Theatre on the Square and Pantages Theater? No thanks.

How about putting it on top of the Carlton Center Building in downtown Tacoma? That appears to be the current plan. Tacoma's Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) will discuss it March 10. More info here.

In the interim, here are some new images of the statue from the packet submitted to the LPC.

Giselda "Babe" Lehrer (left) and friend in front of the Goddess of Commerce statue

The base of the statue

How it would appear atop the Carlton Center Building

comments [58]  |  posted under Downtown, Goddess of Commerce, Tacoma


by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/5/2010 @ 4:41pm
How about put it in Wright Park near the Pervert in the Park statue.

by Erik on 3/5/2010 @ 4:45pm
Very nice.

Great post. The North End Neighborhood Council just voted to give the "Goddess" $500.

by NineInchNachos on 3/5/2010 @ 4:48pm
1. people wont see the horrible tray of chinese take out, people wont see the top of the ship and it will look like a sex toy from the ground

2. people wont see the stream of fish running down the back of her leg

3. TPD will get 911 calls: "There is a large, ethnically ambiguous prostitute jumper on a building! She looks really sad! Bring one of those cartoon fireman trampoline things!"

by NineInchNachos on 3/5/2010 @ 4:54pm
honestly though the final statue doesn't look half bad.

by Erik on 3/5/2010 @ 5:10pm
"[H}onestly though the final statue doesn't look half bad."

"Babe" informed us that the Goddess was new and improved.

Once openly mocked, the Goddess of Commerce has now reached a cult like status in Tacoma.

by marumaruyopparai on 3/5/2010 @ 5:40pm
Is this some kind of weird voodoo/pagan ritual Tacomans participate in to revitalize the economy? Let me know how it works out, we could probably use some of that down here in Oregon.

by Mofo from the Hood on 3/5/2010 @ 6:29pm
Seriously folks, how does a conversation start about goddesses, and then progress to making plans to cast one?...And then actually casting one for public display?

Where are the people who say the Bible isn't relevant to today?

This Tacoma tale is nothing less than modern evidence that the Bible is true in its depiction of what man is.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/5/2010 @ 7:03pm
Well there must be something to what Mofo from the Hood, says, the new Goddess of Commerce must be proof there is a hell.

by jenyum on 3/5/2010 @ 8:50pm
Her expression might be a little less sad from below, we could just think she's looking down.

by NineInchNachos on 3/6/2010 @ 6:55am
is she dangling a baby over the edge of a building? CALL 911!

by fredo on 3/6/2010 @ 7:28am
"The NE Neighborhood council just voted to give the goddess $500" Erik

Just about 2 years ago the NE Neighborhood council provided funds for the figural statue of Allen C.Mason which was installed at N. 26th and Adams. Why do the taxpayers have to get involved in these statues? If people want a statue of a frumpy A&W waitress with a disproportionately large head let them pay for it.

by Erik on 3/6/2010 @ 8:40am
Just about 2 years ago the NE Neighborhood council provided funds for the figural statue of Allen C.Mason which was installed at N. 26th and Adams.

Yep. And it is the coolest.

Check it out this weekend:

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/7/2010 @ 10:45am
Is that a statue of Willy Wonka at 26th and Adams?

by fredo on 3/7/2010 @ 11:57am
That's the Allen C. Mason statue. It's the city's tribute to a large property speculator/developer of the 1800s who tried to make a lot of money off gullible new arrivals to Tacoma. Mason is a footnote to the local history. If Mason hadn't developed the neighborhood someone else would have.

But I liked the reference to Willy wonka. The Mars family who lived in the neighborhood invented the Mars bar. Now that would have been a good reason to cast a statue.

by Chris.Tacoma on 3/7/2010 @ 12:45pm
I like the statue. I think it looks great.

People are going to probably need binoculars to see any of the detail, though. Some kind of telescope station could be installed in the upper portion of Tollefson Plaza, maybe? The location on top of the Carlton building was a good choice.

Oh c'mon Fredo, give the man some credit - he practically built the North End. He built two bridges and a streetcar line to Point Defiance in something like four months. That kind of entrepreneurial spirit is what made Tacoma great. If only more people worked towards dreams like that.

by TDI-Reporters-Notebook on 3/17/2010 @ 1:33pm
Here's an update:

The 'Goddess of Commerce' has officially become the Rodney Dangerfield of public art.

by Erik on 3/17/2010 @ 3:16pm
The Goddess of Commerce is now officially hated (on) by the city more than any art in the city.

The statue has been attacked in every conceivable manner.

As it is now, RR Anderson's statue has a greater chance of being place in the city that the Goddess of Commerce. Seriously.

The Goddess of Commerce is quickly approaching the underground symbol of the Lenin statue in Fremont.


There must be something about the GOC statue that sets off so much ire! The designer has done something right.

The Goddess of Commerce represents everyone who has been beaten down again and again. The Job of Tacoma.

by Erik on 3/17/2010 @ 3:26pm
BTW, two of the most iconic successful statues in Washington State: the Lenin statue and the Fremont Troll would have never been approved by the Art Commission or the LPC.

by NineInchNachos on 3/17/2010 @ 3:31pm
If the GOC statue was forced to relocate to business friendly fife then it truly would be Tacoma's Goddess of Commerce statue.

by Mofo from the Hood on 3/17/2010 @ 3:37pm
A statue of Lenin in Seattle or anywhere in the U.S.A. is like putting a Goddess of Commerce statue in Tacoma.

by Erik on 3/17/2010 @ 3:50pm
Dear Tacoma commissions, commissioners and the people pulling strings behind the scene:

The Goddess of Commerce lives!

Giselda "Babe" Lehrer has placed many statues in Tacoma and has been working for the benefit of Tacoma before most of you were born.

Babe will prevail!

Every denial she encounters she has survived from and it makes her stronger.

The will of Tacomans will not be thwarted and the GOC statue WILL be placed in Tacoma one way or another even if she has to be placed inside of the Grub Cage.

This battle is getting so intense that it nearly deserves another Tacomic!

by NineInchNachos on 3/17/2010 @ 4:21pm
how about we sink her in lake wapato from the neck down?

by jenyum on 3/17/2010 @ 7:31pm
how about we sink her in lake wapato from the neck down?

Who knows what toxins lurk beneath the surface of Lake Wapato. If a 12 story goddess of commerce emerges from the lake, ready to smash the Tacoma Mall with her massive sandal-clad feet, it will be on your head sir.

by NineInchNachos on 3/17/2010 @ 8:21pm
lake water would make a good patina

by marumaruyopparai on 3/18/2010 @ 2:30am
A statue of Lenin in Seattle or anywhere in the U.S.A. is like putting a Goddess of Commerce statue in Tacoma.

That's hilarious.

by seejane on 3/18/2010 @ 9:44am
Tacoma needs a sculpture garden. The Goddess of Commerce would be in good company with those old Never-Never Land statues. The courtyard at the Esplanade would be an interesting space.

by fredo on 3/18/2010 @ 11:37am
Why is the NE neighborhood council giving (public) money to place a sculpture on the Carlton Building?

Is the Carlton Building located within the NE neighborhood council's boundaries?

Is it the mission of NE neighborhood council to provide adornment for private buildings?

Is this a priority item for city funding in the middle of a recession?

by Erik on 3/18/2010 @ 1:53pm
Why is the NE neighborhood council giving (public) money to place a sculpture on the Carlton Building?

Fredo, you are going to have to come out from behind your computer and hear the mesmerizing Babe give her presentation of the Goddess. No, there was no video of it, so you can't watch it from your couch.

by NineInchNachos on 3/18/2010 @ 7:44pm
Homeless Goddess of Commerce

what in the world!

by fredo on 3/18/2010 @ 9:55pm
Erik, I'll be happy to listen to Babe's mesmerizing presentation. Can you put up a link for me?

Maybe you could also inform us of who Babe is and what is her elective office? You know, Jim Jones was also a mesmerizing speaker.

by Erik on 3/18/2010 @ 11:15pm
Maybe you could also inform us of who Babe is and what is her elective office?

Babe was building Tacoma before you were born Fredo. She has been everything and has been everywhere.

by Chris.Tacoma on 3/18/2010 @ 11:15pm
I'm not understanding what we can do as regular people to make sure that this statue gets a proper setting.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/19/2010 @ 12:00am
Surely there is place for the GOC amongst the Broadway LID. One fairly pedestrian statue was moved from in front of the Riley Building on St. Helens to a mini park of its own further up the street. Love it or hate it the artist was expressing a certain Tacomaness. I think it deserves a home and I think along the Broadway LID would be very appropriate. Maybe the GOC expresses Tacoma's own self loathing all too well.

by Erik on 3/19/2010 @ 12:32am
Love it or hate it the artist was expressing a certain Tacomaness.

Yes, exactly Crenshaw. And now that she has been rejected over and over again, she embodies and symbolizes perfectly the Beautiful Angle type downtrodden angst.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/19/2010 @ 12:56am
I say set it down near the Tully's at 9th and Broadway/St Helens. At least the dogs will be able to pee on it, I hope it will only be dogs peeing on it. I say we keep dogging this issue until all can enjoy the GOC in a public setting.

by NineInchNachos on 3/19/2010 @ 8:13am
you gotta put the Goddess of Commerce on Commerce st. its a no-brainer.

by Warren on 3/19/2010 @ 1:25pm
GOC's symbolism is all wrong. No one asked for a statue, but someone thought it was a good idea. It's not a bad idea, but the execution is all wrong, there was no city support (i.e. desire for it) and no locations. Not to mention all the political ramifications of donors and relationships. If we want to re-create a historical icon why not use a historical icon if the location was first secured.

There is no proper setting for the recent manifestation of the goddess. It's not just about the artist's right to express themself it's also about the community, the history, the buildings and the Puyallup tribe.

Oh, don't mind me.

by NineInchNachos on 3/19/2010 @ 1:31pm
does tacoma have tar pits?

by Jesse on 3/19/2010 @ 3:29pm
Put the GOC at Baker Street/7th/ and Fawcett after they do the Fawcett/St Helens LID. That intersection is bound to have a small area for some art and it sorta-kinda would overlook downtown.

Weren't the people up on that hillside wanting a continuation LID of the Broadway LID project?

by AngelaJossy on 3/20/2010 @ 2:35pm
Put it at the top of Frost Park on the Commerce side. People will be able to see it while riding by on the link and the buses. If certain people don't like it - no problem. They are already "not-seeing" lots of things on that corner so they can just go right on ignoring it.

by NineInchNachos on 3/20/2010 @ 9:40pm

by Erik on 3/21/2010 @ 12:19am
I say set it down near the Tully's at 9th and Broadway/St Helens
Put the GOC at Baker Street/7th/ and Fawcett after they do the Fawcett/St Helens LID.
Put it at the top of Frost Park on the Commerce side.
All good ideas. However, the Tacoma Art Commission has deemed the statute politically incorrect, and thus, it can't be placed on city owned land.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/21/2010 @ 12:39am
I have a politically incorrect idea of where the Tacoma Art Commission can put the statue.

by Non Sequitur on 3/22/2010 @ 8:27pm
I will gladly put that in my yard.
No, I will not charge for the prime location, it's a donation to the city.

by Jesse on 3/23/2010 @ 8:12am
Put her on the crest of the D to M street berm.

by morgan on 10/28/2010 @ 4:42pm
She's not dead! Fund-raiser tonight!

by morgan on 10/29/2010 @ 8:27am
Now she's on Facebook!!/pages/Support-Tacoma...

by fredo on 10/29/2010 @ 9:41am
At the risk of starting a new rant let's make sure I have the facts straight.

The City of Tacoma paid money for the statue

and now....

The City of Tacoma refuses to allow the statue to be located.

If these facts are incorrect would someone please provide the correct information.

by Erik on 10/29/2010 @ 11:07am
I am not sure who paid for all of the Goddess. I think her funding has come from many sources.

by fredo on 10/29/2010 @ 11:11am
At least one of the sources was the city of tacoma according to the discussion. Why would the city provide any funding for a statue it didn't intend to install?

by Erik on 8/18/2011 @ 1:42am
BREAKING: The underground 7' bronze statute Goddess of Commerce (the brainchild of Babe Lehrer) will be unveiled in the Triangle District (Tacoma, WA)/Tacoma Theater District Association Wednesday August 31, 2011 at 4:00 pm at 6th and St Helens half a block from Amocat Cafe!!! For more information see (Support Tacoma's Goddess of Commerce FB page)

by Rick Jones on 8/18/2011 @ 11:25am
Here's the story:

Dan Voelpel (former business columnist for the TNT) started the interest in the GOC - (

Babe Lehrer commissioned Marilyn Mahoney to create a new GOC. The funds for the statue came from many sources, some of them public, but most of them private. The Tacoma Historical Society was instrumental in fund-raising (

When trying to donate the GOC to the City the Arts Commission and Landmark Preservation Commission recommended the City not accept it and that it was unworthy of any placement on public property (

After completing the mural at Ben Gilbert Park the theater District Association, led by Seong Shin, turned its attention and effort on 'cleaning up' the intersection at St Helens, 6th, and Baker. Fred King, a retired Tacoma architect and a member of the Landmark Preservation Commission that rejected the GOC, suggested that the GOC might be a nice element to the intersection's improvement if it could be placed on private property. Blaine Johnson contacted Babe, I contacted the ownership of the Mandarin Antiques property, who have generously accepted placement of the GOC on its property. AS Erik noted above, a ceremony dedicating the GOC will be held Aug 31 @ 4PM.

I know of no 'public' work of art that has generated so much attention and controversy. We look forward to seeing you all there Wednesday the 31st!

by Rick Jones on 8/18/2011 @ 11:27am
BTW - in my feedtacoma 'avatar' is the cottonwood that once stood where the GOC is going.

by NineInchNachos on 8/18/2011 @ 11:41am
will there be a ribbon cutting ? maybe a pre-emptive lunch-hour ribbon cutting AUG 31st ?

by Rick Jones on 8/18/2011 @ 12:07pm
There will be an 'unveiling' at 4PM. We expect some speeches. More to follow...

by NineInchNachos on 8/18/2011 @ 12:18pm
I know, the goal of a pre-emptive ribbon cutting would be to prank the unveilers as a bunch of johnny-come-latelys

by Rick Jones on 8/18/2011 @ 1:16pm
Who can stop you R2?

by Erik on 8/18/2011 @ 5:44pm
Summon the auxilary council RR!

Via the Tacoma Daily Index


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