You may not know this developer, but you’ve seen his love for animals all over Tri-Cities

Check out these five statues contributed by Tri-Cities businessman and developer

Warren Luke contributed five animal statues around the Tri-Cities. Take a look at them.
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Warren Luke contributed five animal statues around the Tri-Cities. Take a look at them.

Warren Luke, once a prominent Tri-Cities businessman and developer, vanished from his Kennewick home last weekend, triggering a high-profile search for the elderly man with dementia.

He was found injured but alive in a small ravine two days later and is recovering, say officials.

But his search drew attention to some of Luke’s business achievements and community contributions, including a longtime carpet business and numerous apartment and retail developments, including Marineland Village in Kennewick.

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Kennewick businessman and property developer Warren Luke, left, and Ken Smith, Kennewick School District buildings and grounds manager, inspect a bronze lion statue on a trailer in front of Kennewick High School. Luke, who graduated from Kennewick High in 1955, donated the statue. Bob Brawdy

Friends and fans also know of his love of animals. At one time, he even kept a small personal zoo behind his 10th Avenue home.

Even those who don’t know him have likely seen the whimsical bronze statues he’s installed around the Tri-Cities — most of them reportedly purchased or commissioned from a statue studio California.

In 2005, he donated an eight-foot, 5,000-pound bronze of a lion on a rock pedestal to Kennewick High School — home of the Kennewick Lions. He is a 1955 Kennewick High grad.

Two years later, he installed a 12-foot bronze grizzly bear outside the Uptown Theater, which he continues to own.

Tri-Cities developer Warren Luke has installed several animal statues around the Tri-Cities over the years. This sea otter sculpture was put in at Marineland Village in Kennewick in 2003 when he owned the plaza. Noelle Haro=Gomez Tri-City Herald

He sold Marineland Village in 2005, but it is still home to a collection of playful otters and a goose in flight. A dolphin sculpture also once stood near the Clearwater Avenue entrance to the retail plaza.

The Tri-City Herald once photographed Luke’s horse statue outside the Sun Downs race track at the Benton County Fairgrounds.

A racing enthusiast, he maintained a room for private gatherings under the grandstands. It’s used for storage today but still has “Warren Luke Room” on the keys.

The statue is finished to look like bronze, but was actually a temporary sculpture made with fiberglass. Its whereabouts are not clear.

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A temporary horse sculpture, owned by Kennewick’s Warren Luke, sits in front of Sun Downs race track to help promote the horse races in 2009. Richard Dickin

Wendy Culverwell writes about local government and politics, focusing on how those decisions affect your life. She also covers key business and economic development changes that shape our community. Her restaurant column and health inspection reports are reader favorites. She’s been a news reporter in Washington and Oregon for 25 years.