(Michael Ruane/ The Washington Post ) – Chris Cox, 45, says he’s a chain saw sculptor. He said he’s been cleaning up around the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool for the past few days., using a leaf blower to clear sidewalks and a chain saw to cut up downed tree limbs.

Chris Cox says he bought the leaf blower at Home Depot for $200. He got the used lawn mower at a thrift store for 100 bucks. The heavy metal handcart with the squeaky wheels is his.

Cox, 45, a chain-saw sculptor from Mount Pleasant, S.C., grabbed the attention of shutdown-weary Washington on Wednesday when he showed up with all his gear and was reportedly spotted mowing the lawn at the Lincoln Memorial.

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Chris Cox of Mount Pleasant, S.C., is visiting the Mall despite the shutdown, and he's armed with a rake and lawn mower.

Chris Cox of Mount Pleasant, S.C., is visiting the Mall despite the shutdown, and he’s armed with a rake and lawn mower.

He said the police chased him away, but it was too late. He said he had already been tidying up around the memorial and the Reflecting Pool for the past few days, because nobody else is.

He drew rapid media attention — social and conventional — as well as a crowd of amused foreign tourists as he stood on the plaza of the memorial Wednesday afternoon and declared his purpose.

“I figured out that I could play a . . . valuable role as a janitor, if you will,” he said. “So I started cleaning up the overflowing trash cans. I bought a blower and I’ve been blowing all of the trails, and today I cut the grass out here.”

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