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Artists sought to chalk up the town, teach stormdrain etiquette to Sandyites and visitors

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: ROD STROH - The Justin and Hope Snyder family, and arts commissioner Beckly Hawley, gave a preview of some 'only rain down the drain' inspired chalk art this past weekend in Centennial Plaza. The Sandy Arts Commission has a new project, and its inspiration can be chalked up to the beauty of the area's natural waterways.

The project is meant to educate the public on what can and can't go down the drains located on Sandy's streets, and will take the form of a chalk art contest.

For a chance at a $150 grand prize, artists ages third grade and up will be tasked with creating a drawing near one of the city's drain locations, depicting either things usually found near drain destinations that you'd want to protect (rivers, fish, oceans) or possibly illustrate things that are bad for our waterways and environment.

"People don't realize those drains go right back into Tickle Creek," said arts commissioner Becky Hawley. The commission has taken to referring to what many call stormwater drains as "rain drains" to hammer home the idea that "only rain should go down the drains" — not dog poop, paint, pesticides, cleaning products, car fluids, or other chemicals.

Hawley noted that with talks ongoing about how Sandy's wastewater facility is being inundated with rainwater and the negative implications of the wrong substances ending up in the wrong places, "it's a really good time to cement in the minds of everyone what systems in Sandy do what."

"There's a lot to be said about the green part of the sewer plant," City Councilor Carl Exner added. Exner actually brought the idea for the project to the commission.

"I wanted to find a way to educate people in a fun way about what we put down our drains," he said.

Participants must submit an application, including a drawing on paper done in chalk or pastels in-person or via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by June 21. Applications can be found online at www.ci.sandy.or.us/apply-for-the-chalk-art-contest.

Physical applications can also be picked up and dropped off at the Sandy Public Library, 38980 Proctor Blvd., or Sandy Historical Museum, 39345 Pioneer Blvd.

Finalists will be contacted by phone or email, and must be able to recreate their design for final judging on July 6 and 7.

Contestants will be grouped and judged by age, with a third- through fifth-grade group, a sixth- through ninth-grade group, a 10th- through 12th-grade group and an adult (18 and older) group.

"There should be a broad variety of creative ways people depict 'only rain down the drain,'" Hawley said. "This is a good way of giving people some visual cues. We want people to be aware. As a commission, we're looking for ways to bring quality of life for our residents, and art is a good way to do that. And having clean water is very important."

Hawley hopes the project not only gets people thinking about how to protect their environment, but gets them out to enjoy a walk about town.

"I'm looking forward to getting older kids and adults out in the community," she said. "It would be a good way for them to stroll town. So many people, all they do is drive through."

Weather permitting, Exner is "really hoping when the people show up for Sandy Mountain Festival, they see our beautiful drawings."

"I'd really like to see the businesses support this too," Exner noted. It's kind of a temporary thing, but also very participatory. We all want clean streams for our community."

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