I was happy to park today at Wilson High School, alma mater of my three children, and walk to the Hillsdale Library for a gathering celebrating the completion of the Hillsdale Mural at SW Capitol and Terwilliger.
The mural is the creation of artist Angelina Marino and her assistant Joel Heidel. It was funded by grants from the Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) and the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC). It depicts the history of land use in the Hillsdale area.
I designed the ONI grants within the Graffiti Abatement budget, in partnership with ONI Director Amalia Alarcon de Morris, Amy Archer our ONI Livability Programs and Operations Manager, and Marcia Dennis, leader of the Graffiti Abatement program. Murals help deter graffiti vandals both by creating public art that is less likely to be tagged than blank walls, and by fostering community stewardship of public places so any graffiti is swiftly removed by neighbors. Research has proven that rapid reporting and erasing of tags is the best way to control this vandalism.
RACC has helped fund and approve the installation of 45 public art murals citywide. Information on how to apply for a grant is here. A workshop on the public art mural program will be held Saturday, February 11th at New Columbia, to help citizens learn about the different ways of getting a mural approved in the City of Portland. More information on the Hillsdale mural, and how to register for the training, is here. Over one thousand hours of professional and volunteer work went into the creation of the Hillsdale mural. Special thanks to Sylvia Bogert of SW Neighborhoods, Inc., who guided the project. Her email to me on a Sunday afternoon several months ago alerted me to a policy concern from the Portland Bureau of Transportation, that I then followed up on with Bureau Director Tom Miller with resolution of the log-jam.
I am bringing a report to Council on December 14, outlining vastly improved results in the Graffiti Abatement program due to the investment of General Fund money for an additional staff worker in ONI coordinating volunteer cleanups, and a second police officer to pursue vandals. I hope we can continue funding grants to assist neighborhoods in graffiti discouragement efforts, in the upcoming budget.