In the Spring of 2019, PSAA was approached by Eastbank Development about a new property they had just acquired, the Sunshine Dairy factory - a 39,000-square-foot plant located at 801 NE 21st Avenue, in Portland’s Kerns Neighborhood. Sunshine Dairy is iconic for not only their milk products, but also their massive spinning milk carton that sits atop the roof of the building. In May 2018, Sunshine Dairy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, closing their historic location after 83 years of dairy production. The Oregonian newspaper reported that Sunshine's bankruptcy reflects changing dynamics in the dairy industry, Boverman said, driven primarily by consolidation among dairy producers and grocery chains, which has given the supermarkets more pricing power.
Given the Sunshine Dairy factory has structural foundation issues, Eastbank Development decided to redevelop the site. This was not surprising considering it is in prime location, right off I-84. This building was originally constructed in 1935, and has unique industrial zoning, which allows for both residential and mixed-use development at the site.
Eastbank had caught wind of PSAA’s recent projects in the Central Eastside - the Produce Row Mural at Coast Auto Supply, and the Taylor Electric Project at Clay Creative. Realizing that the factory would be sitting vacant for almost a year, Eastbank decided to activate this space with street art until its demise. With the help of a donation, PSAA was able to arrange for four teams of artists to completely cover the factory building with fresh new art of their choosing. PSAA covered most of the paint costs, and artists are donating their time to make this happen. Over 30 artists are now on display on walls of the factory. This temporary and rotating art project is a win-win, where local artists can have space to practice and play, and developers can work together to activate new public spaces and give back to the local community. Neighbors come by everyday to check out the new art, and cars tend to slam on their brakes as they see the new splash of color in the neighborhood.
Each side of the building was organized by a different Team Captains, so each side of the building has a distinct style and vibe. PSAA aims to empower local leaders in the arts through projects such as Sunshine Dairy. The wall along NE Pacific St (pictured below), was managed by JOINS, and the mural was a collaboration between JOINS, Jeremy Nichols, and RASKOE. Jeremy wanted to practice his new hyper-realistic rendering of animals that he started painting in the Dallas recently for another large-scale mural. The bears were all done using aerosol spray paint and took Jeremy about 2 weeks to complete, along with the forest background. RASKOE came in underneath along the bottom portion of the wall, adding 3D wildstyle graffiti pieces, masterfully blending these two unique styles.
Spaces like Sunshine Dairy are important pieces of our public art landscape, as they provide easily accessible space for artists to explore new techniques, build their portfolios, and just interact with each other in a chill and fun setting. Unlike commissioned murals, these community projects are much more organic and don’t have any planned sketches or themes. Each team of artists chooses a general color scheme, and their own schedules. Artists are provided very open creative freedom, which provides spaces for innovation and experimentation. PSAA manages all of the logistics, securing the mural permit, arranging for site access, media inquires, sponsorship, and documentation.
HISTORY OF SUNSHINE DAIRY
By Josie Allison
In the 1930s, John Karamanos, a Greek restauranteur, wanted to start a dairy delivery service for his friends and founded Sunshine Dairy products. At the time, Portland was home to 50 independent dairy processors.
For the next 83 years, Sunshine stayed committed to serving local food service industry, local manufacturers, and local retailers and co-packers with their personalized delivery and steadfast dedication to high quality, naturally-produced products. By 2018, Sunshine Dairy was a fourth generation, family-owned operation.
The company gained organic certification and was consistently committed to producing the highest quality dairy products through specialized processes that produced superior, fresh taste. Every load of milk was screened for antibiotics and surpassed the federal standards of quality and safety. Sunshine was devoted to the philosophy that natural is better.
Since the development of the bovine growth hormone rBST in 1994, the company sourced from farmers who signed an affidavit not to inject their cows with the artificial stimulant and sought to support farms with sustainable farming practices. In return for their promise, Sunshine paid the farmers a premium to compensate for the economic benefits that using the artificial hormone would have brought. In order to keep their prices low, the company was willing to accept smaller profits from each gallon of milk. In 2001, Sunshine officially became the first dairy in the region to buy exclusively rBST-free milk. The company reaped the rewards from their dedication to natural products as organic milk sales began to rise after growth hormones were increasingly introduced into mainstream dairy.
One of Sunshine’s largest vendors was the Farmers Cooperative Creamery (FCC), whose members are nearly all small to mid-sized, family farmers from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, and Chehalis and the Yakima Valley in Washington
The shifting climate of the dairy industry and the consolidation of dairies throughout the U.S. pushed Sunshine Dairy into bankruptcy. Sunshine signed an agreement with Alpenrose Dairy, another company founded in Portland.
SUNSHINE DAIRY PROJECT IN THE NEWS
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