Each year, a paint party not only refreshes the painted insersection, but adds new themes...

RITA A. LEONARD - Sara Heath displays a template for this years street painting design in the intersection at Share-It Square in Sellwood. A warm Saturday, June 2, set the stage for the 22nd annual community street repainting at S.E. 9th Avenue and Sherrett Street in Sellwood.

This year's design centered on an orange octopus hosting a tea party, under a colorful row of planets extending across the sky. The four white chevrons extending out from the intersection, and the red-brick designs were touched up to complete the design.

Project co-coordinator Sarah Heath revealed, "New features this year were live music performers, and two kid craft stations: One to paint a banner for the 5:30 p.m. potluck dinner for the participants, and the other to make yarn octopus toys. We had over a hundred volunteers by noon, including over a dozen high schoolers from Orange County, California."

Heath and her two cohorts, Ute Kongsbak and Liana White-Allahdadi, coordinated the day with energy and good cheer. Allahdadi monitored the children's banner-painting site. "We've streamlined the paint station to be more efficient this year," she remarked. Kongsbak recalled, "We did a fundraiser earlier in the year – a neighborhood garage sale – and we also appreciated the many donations."

The octopus motif was inspired by a paint spill from last year that was turned into an octopus shape. "People loved the spontaneity and creativity of the fix-up," smiled Heath. "We combined the octopus with a tea party this year to represent our longtime Tea Station here, which signifies community and helping hands. The Space theme – a row of planets – represents the 'big picture' of our place in the universe."

Neighbors and businesses donated time, money, food, and community spirit to the yearly enterprise. Miller Paint gave a discount on the paint, and Sellwood's UPS Store helped with printing needs. Food and drink were donated by Bob's Red Mill, Grand Central Bakery, Sellwood New Seasons, and Starbucks. Neighbors brought a variety of pizza, pastries, fruit, and veggie snacks. A plate of watermelon sat near the Tea Station, and kids were shown how to make "ants on a log" with celery sticks, raisins, and peanut butter.

"The 80-degree weather helped the paint dry pretty quickly," observed volunteer Amanda Leonard, a BEE reader who lives nearby at Lilliput House. Neighbors involved in a Blues band and the Sweet Honey Band entertained with live music on guitars and mandolin. Parents and coordinators gave cheerful advice and encouragement to complete the community-building project. The Sellwood painted intersection, known as "Share-It Square" was begun by the City Repair Project, and has won an award from the state.

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