YAKIMA -- A bust of one of Mexico's national heroes will be on display in downtown Yakima if the city council approves its placement at a Tuesday meeting.
The city's Arts Commission recommended last month that the 2-foot-tall bust of Jose Maria Morelos be installed, along with a pedestal and plaque, in the median area of the crosswalk near Essencia Artisan Bakery and The Lofts condos on North Third Street.
The Mexican government -- through its consulate in Seattle -- donated the bust to honor Morelos, a leader in the Mexican War of Independence. Yakima's sister-city, Morelia, is named after Morelos.
Council members this week said that they expect to formally accept the donation at the Tuesday meeting. There might yet be more discussion about just where to put it, though.
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"I think we need to accept it graciously and look for the best spot," said Councilman Dave Ettl.
The city's staff report on the matter states that all neighboring property owners were notified and none objected to the placement. The location was chosen as a response to input from local businesses, the report said. Ettl said he was open to placing it there but wanted to wait and see what people say at Tuesday's meeting.
Like Ettl, Councilwoman Kathy Coffey said she believes everything is in place for the city to formally accept the artwork. The Arts Commission did its job, and she has no objections.
"They've followed the procedures," she said. "I think it's going to be just be general agreement (among the council)."
Councilman Bill Lover, too, says he sees no problem accepting the bust. He would not be surprised, though, if there is opposition from some in the public. Indeed, comments on Yakima Herald-Republic online stories about the donated bust have largely been against accepting the artwork.
Kent Lundgren, who wrote a letter to the editor on the matter, said this week that he doesn't see why Yakima should have a statue of a Mexican hero when it doesn't have any of American heroes.
"What really struck me wrong about it is that we don't celebrate our own heritage," he said.