Downtown Auburn’s Gilbert cutout cuts out

By: Journal Staff Report
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Gilbert is gone – again Auburn’s iconic, cycling man-about-town died Sept. 2 at 82. But his memory has been visibly rekindled on many weekdays in front of Uptown Signs on Lincoln Way in Downtown Auburn with a life-size plastic cutout of Gilbert Ortega’s bike-riding image. The image was stolen off the street sometime over the weekend after Uptown Signs’ Jerry Kopp decided to leave it out to allow visitors and locals to get their picture taken with the cutout. Normally, the sign is only out on weekdays when the business is open but Kopp said he wanted to add a little color to the streetscape on the weekend. And several people over the past few weeks have asked to pose with the Gilbert cutout. The sign itself has become something of an icon itself to some. Karen Little said Wednesday that she was taking one of her daily walks in Auburn and noticed the sign was gone. She and her friend went into Uptown Signs to ask “Where is Gilbert?” and they told them the cutout was stolen. “We were both appalled,” Little said. Kopp said he’d like Gilbert back and may not even ask any questions to the returnee. – Gus Thomson