CENTRAL POINT — When a pair of giant lumberjack figures affixed to an old windmill tower disappeared from the Jackson County fairgrounds earlier this month, few appeared to notice at first.

CENTRAL POINT — When a pair of giant lumberjack figures affixed to an old windmill tower disappeared from the Jackson County fairgrounds earlier this month, few appeared to notice at first.

But when word got out on social media that the Paul Bunyan-like characters were gone, an outcry ensued.

Fear not, says Jackson County Fair Director Dave Koellermeier, there are plans afoot to restore the wooden loggers and return them to their rightful place.

Koellermeier said the tower that once graced The Expo's northern border was removed earlier this month when fairgrounds officials took advantage of some available equipment.

Long in a state of disrepair, the 37-foot-tall wooden figures are slated for restoration by a local Boy Scout, if his plans and research pan out.

Koellermeier said the decision to restore the two statues was made last winter, long before the tower was taken down.

Safety became a concern after storms during recent months brought high winds that removed a chunk from the face of one of the Bunyan twins. It and a number of other pieces were scattered toward a fairgrounds parking lot.

"When it came down three weeks ago, I said, 'Now the phones are going to start ringing.' But they never did," said Koellermeier. "Then it popped up on Facebook and that was when it all happened."

Donated to the county fairgrounds in 1994, the statues were once used to advertise a now-defunct heavy equipment sales firm along Highway 99 near Sage Road during the 1940s.

A symbol of the region's ties to the timber industry, the statues were used, then later restored and donated to the fairgrounds, by the Eugene F. Burrill Lumber Company of White City.

Nathan Moir, a member of Medford Boy Scout Troop 7 who is interested in repairing the loggers for his Eagle Scout project, said he noticed the giant figures missing in recent weeks and inquired into their whereabouts with his father, Rick Moir, who works for the fairgrounds' ad agency, Lanphier and Associates.

"It's a big part of our local history and I'd like to be a part of restoring that for the community," said the 14-year-old.

"I've been researching it and found out that there was a painter about 25 years ago that refurbished it. We want to see if he's still alive or find an artist who paints in the same style that he did."

Koellermeier said the fairgrounds would host a display at the Jackson County fair this summer to share restoration plans and possible fundraising efforts with the public.

Rick Moir said restoration could involve a repainting effort or a special printing process that would use photographs to restore the original image.

"Especially with the recession and difficult economy we've all been through, people are looking back and wanting to remember simpler times," he said.

"These Bunyan brothers remind everyone of the timber industry which was the economic driving force of this valley. We've certainly discovered in these statues coming down that there's a segment of our population who are very sentimental and very passionate about preserving things that demonstrate what has made this such a great area to live in."

He added, "My son had already looked into these statues and been doing research before this came up. Hopefully we've reassured folks that it's not being discarded or thrown away but will, hopefully soon, rise once again."

For more information on the project, e-mail the Moirs at rick@lanphier.com.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at buffyp76@yahoo.com.