Oregon City is home to several murals, but due to a signage ordinance passed several years ago, mural activity sadly came to a halt. Over the past two years Oregon City residents appealed to the city of Oregon City to allow the installation of murals once again. Spurred on with the help of local art organizations and support from city advocates, as of September murals are once again accepted under the city's code.
In July, the Three Rivers Artist Guild received a grant for two mural projects. One will be a restoration and the other will be a new mural. The restoration will begin Sept. 20 and will refurbish the Trolley Car mural above Don Pepe's Restaurant, 705 Main St.
In celebration of this momentous time, the Three Rivers Artist Guild invites the public to a one-day event to watch the mural being painted. On Saturday, Sept. 25, tables and chairs will be set up across the street at Edward Jones and Bridgeview Beer and Wine Supply. From 11 a.m.-4 p.m. viewers can sit comfortably at the outdoor tables and chairs, café-style, while enjoying takeout from Don Pepe's menu.
The painting is being handled by project manager and artist Cathy Rowe from Sept. 20-Oct. 2. "Spotters" from the Three Rivers Artist Guild will be directing pedestrians safely around the restoration work from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 24 and 25, and again Oct. 1 and 2. Restoration work will still be clearly visible to the public during these timeframes.
The mural actually represents three layers of Oregon City history, the artwork itself, the building on which it's displayed and the act of restoration. The "First Trolley" mural was originally created by artist Larry Kangas in 1992, honoring the popular trolleys that first ran up and down Oregon City's Main Street in the late 1800s to connect Clackamas County with Portland. The face of the conductor in the front of the trolley mural is that of businessman Urb Arbour, then owner of the building. He is the grandfather of the current owner Jenna Edginton.
The trolley mural's building also has a history of its own. Originally constructed in 1908, it was home to the OK Barber Shop and a confectionary store before becoming Don Pepe's Restaurant. It is one of the few remaining wood-frame buildings on Main Street.
Who said watching paint dry was boring? Sometimes it can include art, history, community and a fun meal, too!
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