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Motorists await the return of Spokane Valley ‘Jesus’

August 3, 2018

And in the seventh month of this year, Jesus took a fall just east of the Argonne Road exit on Interstate 90, and commuters were perplexed.

Maury Flynn said he was out of town for his 56th wedding anniversary when the Jesus statue he erected on his property along the busy highway slipped to the right. He is in the process of fixing the listing Christian savior, and it was good.

“I’ve been gone for two weeks,” said Flynn, who erected the religious display with his nine grandchildren on the south side of the freeway eight years ago. “Normally, I make it right the next day.”

The simple looking display – three tall crosses framing a floating Jesus – belies structural complexity.

“Jesus is actually risen. He’s not touching the crosses,” Flynn said. “Because of that, to give the impression that he’s suspended, I only have a three-quarter-inch threaded rod attached to the back of the foot. When the wind blows hard enough at the right angle, it’ll blow over.”

The wind did blow hard enough, and at the right angle, while Flynn and his wife, Elaine, were out of town. Some motorists on the busy stretch of the interstate in Spokane Valley started to wonder: When will Jesus get righted?

“Here in the next day or two,” Flynn said. “I may have to take it down to repair the internal structure.”

Flynn built the display in 2010, 50 years after he graduated from Gonzaga Preparatory School. He and his nine grandchildren dug a big hole and poured 20,000 pounds of concrete into it, providing a solid foundation for the 25-foot tall crosses. One of his granddaughters, who has an art degree from the University of Montana, gave the figure its beatific face.

In the intervening years, the roadside attraction has fared pretty well, but Flynn’s Jesus is made of fiberglass, so the sun and elements have taken their toll.

“Last year, I had to take it down and refurbish it,” he said. “A number of people went by and wanted to know what they can do to get it back up.”

Just be patient, Flynn told them.

No one’s really pushed back against Flynn’s overt religious demonstration, but he said he’s gotten a number of thankful responses, most of them from truck drivers. Flynn acknowledged his artwork may not speak to everyone, but he hoped they enjoy it one way or another.

“God gave me the ability to buy 3 acres along the freeway. I thought I’d put something up the other side of the fence would enjoy,” he said. “I look at this way: If you’re not religious, it’s art.”

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