By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes
If you’re over in east Keizer perhaps you spotted the butterfly-catching man standing in the front yard.
His name is Rusty, appropriately enough. Rick Halvorson, a retiree from the Oregon National Guard and a native Keizerite, made him.
Standing about five-and-a-half feet tall, Rusty is almost entirely of old parts no one else particularly needed or wanted.
It’s a theme in Halvorson’s work. His gutters were fashioned in part out of an old metal cup. A bird in the backyard is made of a shovel’s blade. In the garage he’s fashioned together a contraption where a pinball can be raised up through tubes made out of old welding rods – he got those free because, once moisture gets to them, they’re not much use – with pegs attached to old saw blades.
From there it can take two paths, spiraling down into a metal disc, where the process starts over.
But Halvorson is a modest man, despite the fact he can point almost anywhere on his property and show something he made – or made better.
He discovered he enjoyed welding after his father-in-law taught him, and Rusty is his most public creation yet.
Rusty is made of “mostly just things people gave me and it accumulated over the years,” Halvorson said. “I just put it to use.”
Standing six feet, two inches tall from head to toe, Steel rebar makes up lots of Rusty’s body. The main part of the body is an old railroad vice. A chainsaw motor is attached to a series of gears that allow movable parts in his chest and back.
His hat is a repurposed brake drum. His head is filled with a small butane tank.
The legs and base of the arms are “part of the frame pieces off an old boat trailer. I just took them apart.”
Rusty has only been on display for about a week or so since Halvorson finished, “but he gets the occasional thumbs up.”
“You look around for what might fit with it – some things just fit.”