Legal Wall Research Project

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In 2012, PSAA was founded as an advocacy group. Our friends were being pressured and harassed by the police for making art in the street, even when they had permission from owners. Art shows and galleries that supported street and graffiti art were being shut down. Since then, PSAA has been working behind-the-scenes to help advocate for this form of art and shape the future of street and graffiti art in Portland by advocating for new City policies.

This year, PSAA is working in a collaboration with Portland State University’s Urban Planning Department to develop a Legal Walls proposal to go before the Portland Council for city-wide approval. PSAA was one of a few organizations selected (including the Portland Bureau of Transportation, the City of Vancouver, the City of Monroe, and the Cathedral Park Neighborhood Association) by the department’s Master’s student senior workshop to participate in this initiative.

Working closely with PSAA, a team of students will craft a proposal to advance the City’s policies surrounding street murals and public art for the collective empowerment of Portland’s street artist community, drawing on street art best practices and case studies from around the world. The proposal will combine research, original data collection, and analysis to present policy alternatives allowing Portland to better leverage its thriving street arts culture and solidify the City’s identity as a haven for creatives.

By listening to stories from artists and free wall organizers from around the world, and working with policymakers, property owners, and other stakeholders, this team will co-develop recommendations supporting street art’s potential to achieve City-wide district revitalization goals and use art as a means to include the voices and perspectives of historically marginalized communities.

The final proposal will be available in summer 2019. To remain updated on the process, add your input, and lend your support for City Council approval, join the PSAA community list and TAKE THE SURVEY to let us know what you think about possible effects of and need for free walls in Portland. We want to hear from you!


Read more about free and legal walls.

Read more about the history of zero-tolerance graffiti policies in Portland.

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