PSAA Projects

Viaduct Arts

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The Viaduct Arts initiative brings vibrant community art to the streets of the Central Eastside Industrial District (CEID).

Drawing inspiration from the district’s acronym CEID, this new initiative is intended to “seed” art making as an integral part of the district’s identity as a hub for innovation and culture building. Viaduct Arts aims to ensure street art remains an integral part of everyday life in the CEID. This work aligns with several city and district community goals including public place-making and ensuring space remains accessible to artists in the district. This neighborhood-wide initiative is being spearheaded by the Portland Street Art Alliance, in collaboration with local businesses and property owners, the Central Eastside Industrial Council, Regional Arts & Culture Council, and the City of Portland's Office of Community & Civic Life's Graffiti Program.

The Viaduct Arts initiative also strives to address social and geographic disparities, specifically when it comes to gaining access to large-scale outdoor painting opportunities in the city. Therefore, Viaduct Arts outreach is focusing on connecting with Oregon-based artists living outside of the Portland Metro Area and those who identify as being a part of underrepresented communities (BIPOC+, LGBTQ, Women, Disabled, Low SES, etc.). PSAA is dedicated to creating inclusive models for place and district-making by engaging with diverse audiences and artists.


A New Mural District

As Portland experiences accelerated redevelopment and demographic changes, there is an increased urgency for the creation of spaces that welcome artists to work, grow, and thrive. The Central Eastside is long-time “industrial sanctuary.” In the early 1900s, thanks to the fertile Willamette Valley, Italian immigrants established fruit and vegetable wholesale distribution and transportation networks.  This new riverside industrial district became known as “Produce Row.” At the heart of this historic industrial area, are two parallel loading dock streets - 2nd & 3rd Avenues. These thoroughfares transect four viaducts - under the Hawthorne and Morrison Bridges that create deep cavern-like spaces cutting through the Central Eastside. This unique environment creates opportunities for large-scale artwork. With recent changes in zoning, and increased interest in development, this area is rapidly changing. Viaduct Arts aims ensure that street art remains an essential element of the district and future development.

Currently, several mural sites have been secured thanks to partnerships with Killian Pacific, Libertas Companies, All Service Moving, and Todd Hess Building Company. Several other CEID property owners are in communication with PSAA about becoming a part of Viaduct Arts.

Why Street Art is Important IN CEID

Street art has long been an important and visible part of the Central Eastside, contributing to it’s uniquely innovative and gritty character. Street art enriches everyday life, helps to build a city's identity and fosters a sense of place and pride in our community.


Call to Artists

In October 2019, PSAA will release the Viaduct Arts ‘Call to Artists,’ seeking to commission three Oregon-based artists to paint large-scale murals in CEID. This mural work will be managed and fully-funded by PSAA, thanks to grant and local business support. The aim is to establish new connections for diverse artists to push their creative boundaries and increase representation in Portland's public art landscape. Selected artists can be paired with a local mentor, who will help guide them through the mural-making process (design, mock-ups, planning logistics, supply purchases, and painting). The goal of this mentorship program is to support artists in taking risks, developing their public practice, and expanding their skill-sets. We hope that by offering this extra support, PSAA can help increase artists’ ability to engage within their respective communities to “seed” arts across Oregon.


Project Timeline

Call to Artists Oct 15, 2019

Applications Due               Dec 1, 2019             

Artist Selection                   Feb 1, 2020

Design & Review Phase Feb - Mar, 2020

Logistics Planning               Apr - May, 2020

Painting June 2020


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DONATIONS

Consider making a tax-deductible donation to support this initiative! The grant covers artist and management time for 3 murals, but support is needed from the community to help pay for additional murals and supplies. All business donors who contribute $1000 or more will become an “official sponsor” and recognized on this website, in marketing promotions, and on social media.


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Do you have a wall?

Please email us at info@pdxstreetart.org or fill out this form:

PROPERTY/Business OWNER FORM

 

Volunteer, help us make this happen!

PSAA is a volunteer run organization. Many of the public art projects we do depend on the community coming together to make them happen! Please fill out the Volunteer Interest Form below to get involved. 

VOLUNTEER INTEREST FORM


SPONSORS + PARTNERS

The Portland Street Art Alliance has been awarded an Oregon Community Foundation Creative Heights in support of the new Viaduct Arts: Central Eastside Mural Art Program. For the fifth consecutive year, Creative Heights grants fund a variety of artists and cultural projects throughout the state.  Each year, OCF provides Creative Heights Grants to up to 12 of the most innovative and culturally impactful proposals by artists and groups across Oregon. Support from OCF and generous donors expand opportunities for many of Oregon’s art communities to create work that advances the state’s artistic and cultural fields and engages traditionally underserved audiences. PSAA is truly honored to be a 2018 grant recipient. Read more about Creative Heights and other exciting grant recipient projects here.

Bread & Roses Mural

Old Mack Truck Warehouse Transformed into Vibrant Mural Honoring Labor Rights History and Activism

Work has begun on a new community art space organized by the Portland Street Art Alliance (PSAA) at the Steel Bridge-head in the Rose Quarter of Portland. The warehouse, owned by the Kalberer Company, has been used as a storage facility for many decades. The property is also used by TriMet and the City of Portland for parking. The mural entitled “Bread & Roses,” honors the working-class history of this site, as being the headquarters of Mack Trucks International and being situated at the Steel Bridge head and Union Pacific railroad tracks.

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The Mack International Motor Truck Corporation constructed this 35,000 square-foot building in 1924, moving their headquarters from downtown Portland to across the Willamette River. It was the largest structure in Oregon devoted exclusively to the sale and services of a single make of motor truck. At the street-level corner, was the showroom and unique movable partitions which separated new and used trucks. In the basement, there was a boiler, lockers, showers and storage for the workers. The streetcar passed right in front of the building, turning north onto what was then Adams Street. Later in the 1950s, the building was bought and used by Roberts Motors.

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The new community mural includes a variety of styles, painted by about a dozen local and visiting artists. The artwork honors the working-class history of the site as being the headquarters of Mack Trucks International and its location at the Steel Bridge head and Union Pacific railroad tracks. The mural pays homage to the struggle for workers’ rights.

Mural of Rose Schneiderman by N.O. Bonzo

Mural of Rose Schneiderman by N.O. Bonzo

The painted doorway mural by Portland-based artist N.O. Bonzo is a homage to Rose Schneiderman the Polish-American feminist and one of the labor union leaders who led the 1912 labour worker strike. With her activism, Rose drew attention to unsafe workplace conditions following the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and was one of the founding members of the American Civil Liberties Union. Rose is credited with coining the phrase "Bread & Roses," to indicate workers’ rights to something higher than subsistence living. For nearly half a century, Rose worked to improve basic human rights including living wages, decent hours, and safe working conditions for women – the symbolic “bread.” She also tirelessly worked for “roses” such as schools, recreational facilities, and professional networks for trade union women, believing working women deserved more than meager subsistence. The legendary graffiti artist, GATS painted their signature masked figure across the top of the building along with a slogan that reads “The worker must have bread, but she must have roses too”- a popular slogan used during this uprising. Supporting the theme of worker and women’s rights, visiting Miami artist Claudio Picasso painted a portrait of Marie Equi (1872-1952), a doctor in Portland, devoted to providing care to poor patients.

Mural by GATS.

Mural by GATS.

Mural of Marie Equi by Claudio Picasso.

Mural of Marie Equi by Claudio Picasso.

Commenting on the mural work’s message, N.O. Bonzo stated, “We know that many of the conditions that workers struggled against in 1912 are still experienced today by peoples worldwide. Exploitation, sexual and physical violence, wages which do not meet our needs, and conditions designed to alienate and isolate us. This piece celebrates both our victories and our current and future struggles till the day we all are free.”

The artist team painting the backside of the building include rail-hopping graffiti artists, Maddo, Clamo, and Boycott Yourself. This trio’s murals depict railroad and industrial-inspired imagery, including a horse and chicken - symbolic of early urban ties to rural life. The roses represent Portland’s strong working-class women throughout its history, and the chain represents the capitalistic and male-dominated political and social system that often prevents them from blossoming into their fullest potential.

Mural by Maddo and Clamo.

Mural by Maddo and Clamo.

This rotating art project is a win-win for local and visiting artists and property owners alike. Artists have space to build their portfolios and show new work, and property owners are giving back to the local community. This collaboration gives the thousands of commuters that pass this building every day a rotating splash of color that invigorates this once grey intersection.

Mural work by Jeff Sheridan.

Mural work by Jeff Sheridan.

This project is also the result of new exciting partnerships for Portland Street Art Alliance, including ongoing sponsorship from Metro Paint and Miller Paint. “Supporting Portland Street Art Alliance is a way for Miller Paint and our partner MetroPaint to stay connected to the artist community in Portland. Our founder, Ernest Miller, was a muralist himself back in the 1890s when he founded our company on the promise to make paint specifically formulated for our Pacific Northwest climate” says Puji Sherer, Color Marketing Manager for Miller Paint.

Buildings such as this can be an important part of Portland’s public art landscape. They provide easily accessible spaces for artists to explore new techniques, build their portfolios, and interact with each other in a safe, comfortable, and open urban setting. Unlike commissioned murals, these community projects are much more organic and don’t have any planned sketches or timetables. Each team of artists choose their color scheme, designs, and make their own schedules. Artists are provided creative freedom and the opportunity to foster unique spaces for innovation and experimentation. PSAA manages the logistics, including securing the city’s original art mural permit and sponsorship, arranging for site access, managing painting logistics, media inquiries, and documenting the physical and social history of the site.

Participating Artists (More to Come Soon!):

  • GATS (@gatsptv)

  • NO BONZO (@nobonzo)

  • MADDO (@murky.mind)

  • CLAMO (@imminentdecay)

  • BOYCOTT YOURSELF (@boycott.yourself)

  • OUCH (@ouchey)

  • CHET MALINOW (@chetmalinow)

  • DEPTHS (@horrible_kreatures)

  • OTHER (@other0ne)

  • JOINS (@desertstocross)

  • RAIN (@rizainwashizere)

  • JEREMY NICHOLS (@plasticbirdie)

  • CLAUDIO PICASSO (@cpwon)

  • JEFF SHERIDAN (@jeffsheridan)


BREAD & ROSES MURAL IN THE NEWS

SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL OF OUR SPONSORS

Sunshine Dairy

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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.

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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.

Hand of Dogg has been hard at work for over a month on this massive mural, using only brush work. Photo: Paul Landeros

Hand of Dogg has been hard at work for over a month on this massive mural, using only brush work. Photo: Paul Landeros

Aerial view of Sunshine Dairy. Photo: InvoicePDX

Aerial view of Sunshine Dairy. Photo: InvoicePDX

The mural wall along SE 20th was managed by InvoicePDX and Hand of Dogg and displays a mixture of classic graffiti-style text, and hyper-realistic sign painting techniques. Participating artists in the first round of painting include: DETR, YATSE, YUCKO, COPS, GIMER, ENVY, FNGER, AT ME, KENRO, and GRISLE.  Photo: Paul Landeros

The mural wall along SE 20th was managed by InvoicePDX and Hand of Dogg and displays a mixture of classic graffiti-style text, and hyper-realistic sign painting techniques. Participating artists in the first round of painting include: DETR, YATSE, YUCKO, COPS, GIMER, ENVY, FNGER, AT ME, KENRO, and GRISLE.

Photo: Paul Landeros

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.

JOINS laying down the lines. Photo: Tiffany Conklin

JOINS laying down the lines. Photo: Tiffany Conklin

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.

In-progress mural along NE 21st Avenue, managed by Galen Malcolm of PSAA. Art along this wall included work by EKOSE, NEKON, NOTES, ADJUST, GIVER, VIDEO, FIBER, ABNR, KANGO, and Level Headed Press.  Photo: Paul Landeros

In-progress mural along NE 21st Avenue, managed by Galen Malcolm of PSAA. Art along this wall included work by EKOSE, NEKON, NOTES, ADJUST, GIVER, VIDEO, FIBER, ABNR, KANGO, and Level Headed Press.

Photo: Paul Landeros

EKOSE working on a robotic character towering over the city below. Photo: InvoicePDX

EKOSE working on a robotic character towering over the city below. Photo: InvoicePDX

Detail of KANGO’s piece. Photo: Tiffany Conklin

Detail of KANGO’s piece. Photo: Tiffany Conklin

Artist at work at Sunshine Dairy. Photo: Tiffany Conklin

Artist at work at Sunshine Dairy. Photo: Tiffany Conklin

In-progress mural wall managed by the MLS crew in Portland, OR. Still in-progress. Line-up TBA!  Photo: Tiffany Conklin

In-progress mural wall managed by the MLS crew in Portland, OR. Still in-progress. Line-up TBA!

Photo: Tiffany Conklin

Photo: Tiffany Conklin

Photo: Tiffany Conklin

Final shot of wall along SE 21st Ave, managed by InvoicePDX. Photo: InvoicePDX.

Final shot of wall along SE 21st Ave, managed by InvoicePDX. Photo: InvoicePDX.

Mural work by GATS. Photo: InvoicePDX.

Mural work by GATS. Photo: InvoicePDX.

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.

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SUNSHINE DAIRY PROJECT IN THE NEWS








Thank you to our project sponsors!

© All Rights Reserved. Logo Design by Forrest Wolf Kell

A Walk Through Time Mural

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In July 2019 artist Jeremy Nichols completed a large-scale mural in Downtown Tigard. The mural, entitled A Walk Through Time, is a interwoven tapestry of Tigard’s history and culture along the Fanno Creek corridor.

Working with local historian, Sean Garvey, and ecology specialists in the city, Nichols’ design incorporates images from Tigard’s past. The mural depicts a member of the Kalapuya tribe (the indigenous inhabitants of the area) alongside native flora and fauna, including Red-tailed Hawk, Western Painted Turtle, Great Blue Heron and Oregon Iris and Camas flowers. Nichols hopes that the mural will raise awareness about the original inhabitants of the Tigard area, as well as the local ecosystem. “It is important to me to create a mural that will stay relevant and be enjoyed by generations to come. I wanted to create a design that steps away from the norms of ‘traditional cultural’ murals and create a design with a more contemporary approach that is equally informative and significant,” says Jeremy Nichols, the artist designing and painting the mural. 

Mural Design Concept

Mural Design Concept

Located at 12553 SW Main Street, the mural is directly adjacent to the popular Fanno Creek multi-use trail on the recently renovated building home to several new Downtown Tigard businesses including Frameabl, Versus Board Games and Senet Game Bar. Building upon previous arts initiatives led by the City of Tigard and non-profit Tigard Downtown Alliance the mural will aid in the ongoing revitalization of downtown Tigard. Dylan Dekay-Bemis, the City of Tigard’s Economic Development Coordinator, believes the project will “increase access to art in Tigard, help improve walkability in downtown and draw attention to the great local businesses housed within the building where the mural will be located.”

In recent years, art initiatives have driven commercial success and interest in Downtown Tigard, including the annual Downtown Art Walk event, gateway art sculptures by artist Brian Borrello, an Art on Loan program that places art leased from local artists in locations around downtown, and the award-winning SubUrban street art exhibition. 

Artist Jeremy Nichols working on the Walk Through Time Mural in Tigard. Photo: Paul Landeros

Artist Jeremy Nichols working on the Walk Through Time Mural in Tigard. Photo: Paul Landeros

Portland based non-profit Portland Street Art Alliance (PSAA) facilitated the commissioning of Jeremy Nichols for the City of Tigard and will continue to assist the City in managing this mural project. PSAA Executive Director Tiffany Conklin explains that “the quality of our shared public spaces speaks volumes about what we, as a society, believe to be important. Public art projects like A Walk Through Time not only bring more cultural vibrancy and interest to a place, but ensure that everyone has the opportunity to experience art in their everyday lives.” The mural took Nichols 10 days to complete.

A Walk Through Time was funded through the City of Tigard’s Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper (LQC) program.  LQC projects are inexpensive but impactful actions that improve walkability, connectivity and health in Tigard.

Final Mural by Jeremy Nichols

Final Mural by Jeremy Nichols

All Photos © Portland Street Art Alliance @ Paul Landeros


IN THE NEWS!

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TAYLOR ELECTRIC PROJECT

Taylor Electric BLOCK PARTY 2020

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LIVE PAINTING, INTERACTIVE ART INSTALLATIONS, LIVE MUSIC, DANCE BATTLES, ART VENDING, DJS, FOOD CARTS, LOCAL CRAFT BEER, COCKTAILS, AND MORE!

The Taylor Electric Project at Clay Creative, is a collaborative, open-air street art gallery that features the work of over 100 artists. For over a decade, the ruins of the Taylor Electrical Supply Company, located on 240 SE Clay St., became a Portland nexus of local, regional, and national graffiti and street art following a fire that left only the burnt-out husk of walls, a perfect canvas for street art within Portland’s ever-changing Central Eastside District. In 2015, what remained of the building was demolished but with the support of Killian Pacific, Portland Street Art Alliance is collectively rebuilding the Taylor Electric Project into a haven for street art once again. Portland Street Art Alliance manages the painting at Taylor Electric and annually co-hosts an all-day all-ages event with the help of For the Love that includes live-paintings, artist commissions, live music, a dance battle, local pop-ups, food carts, local beer, skateboarding ramps, and more. Thousands of people come out to celebrate Portland’s vibrant public art communities. The annual block party is truly a DIY community-centered and driven event, made possible with the support from local sponsors, volunteers, and artists. 

NEXT DATE TBA!

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GET INVOLVED

Please consider volunteering, vending, donating, or sponsoring the Taylor Electric Block Party event. Date/Time TBA in SUMMER 2020. All of the PSAA and For the Love management team donates their time up front, works together, and makes this all happen! Contributions are tax-deductable. 

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2018 Block Party Recap

2018 NEWS COVERAGE

2018 PHOTOS

© All photos copyright of credited owner. Do not use without permission. 

 

HISTORY OF TAYLOR ELECTRIC

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For over a decade, the burnt-out ruins at SE 2nd and Clay served as Portland's most famous space for graffiti– a free open art gallery that attracted artists and onlooks from near and far.  

Built in 1936 by the Loggers & Lumberman’s Investment Company, the warehouse at 240 SE Clay (previously 352 E Clay St) served as a home to many different businesses through its lifetime at its picturesque location at the east-end of the Central Eastside Industrial District. In the 1990s, the Rexel Taylor Electrical Supply Company purchased the building and used it as a storefront and warehouse for electrical supplies.

On the night of May 17, 2006, a stack of pallets outside the building caught fire. Fueled by the electrical supplies inside, a massive 4-alarm fire broke out. Over 125 fire-fighters from Portland and nearby cities worked around the clock trying to extinguish the blaze and protect nearby buildings. Burning for over 24 hours, the fire sent a river of debris into the nearby Willamette River.

Taylor Electrical Supply had plans to rebuild and sell the property, but that fell through, so the charred skeleton of the warehouse sat abandoned for over a decade. The ruins blossomed into a unique and iconic local landmark - a sanctuary for artists, rebels, and outcasts. When people visited Portland and wanted to see graffiti, Taylor Electric was an obvious and easily accessible destination. Cultural activities from dances, circuses, and bicycle chariot wars used Taylor Electric as a gritty stage and backdrop.

In many booming west coast cities, space for unanticipated interactions and unauthorized art are rapidly diminishing. However, these derelict spaces serve important functions for many creatives. Artists are often some of the first to find, occupy, and re-use dilapidated spaces. These cracks of the urban fabric fall outside the watchful eye of neighbors and police.

There is an inherent uncertainty and unpredictability of abandoned spaces where graffiti often gravitates. These spaces often provide the raw material conditions that incubated new ways of expression and imaginative thinking. Graffiti’s ephemeral and nomadic nature contributes to its resiliency and allure. For these reasons, the aesthetics of Taylor Electric were addictive for many, including artists, tourists, academics, journalistsphotographers, and videographers. Geographer Bradley Garrett wrote: “These spaces are appreciated for their aesthetic qualities, for their possibilities for temporarily escaping the rush of the surrounding urban environment and their ability to hint at what the future might look like, when all people have disappeared, a visceral reminder of our own mortality.

Rumors of demolition and redevelopment plans of Taylor Electric had been circulating for years. With Portland’s booming economy and population this change was inevitable. As power and urban space collide, developers inevitably would redevelop this centrally located property. A family-owned local development company, Killian Pacific eventually purchased the property intending to develop it into a new office campus called Clay Creative. Thankfully, Killian Pacific appreciated the cultural history and raw beauty of the space and decided to preserve and reinforce part of the old south-facing retaining wall, incorporating it into the new building.

In the months leading up to its demise, the art at Taylor Electric flourished as the fences went down and security was reduced. More so than ever people of all types, young and old, high heels and rubber boots, descended on this public place to experience a post-apocalyptic scene bursting with color.

On May 10th, 2015 the demolition of Taylor Electric began. Spreading quickly through social media, artists shared images of the first walls to fall. Some onlookers talked with workers, gathering details of the plans. Local media outlets covered the demolition, focusing on the cultural importance and impact of this space.

While a sense of loss pervaded, there was also a sense of unity and reflection that arose, as many people began to introspectively think about what was being lost, but also what had been built over the years in this space. During this time, the Portland Street Art Alliance (PSAA), a local arts non-profit that advocates for and manages street art projects in the pacific northwest, started pitching the ideas of hosting a gallery art show in commemoration of the old space. Donations immediately started coming in from community members and businesses. PSAA connected with Killian Pacific and the main tenant of the building, Simple Bank. From these new partnerships, a new idea was born – bring graffiti art back to the site, but this time, provide artists time, structure, and funding to really make a huge splash. The collective aim was to honor and continue the history of this unique art sanctuary. To create a new rotating public art gallery displaying fresh works from pacific-northwest and visiting artists.

Since 2017, the Taylor Electric Project at Clay Creative has been managed by PSAA with support of local businesses. Over 100 regional artists have painted murals at the site, completely covering the underground garage and old remaining walls of the warehouse.

On July 21st, 2018, PSAA organized a team of Portland-based artist collectives to co-host a huge block party. Over 2,000 people came to celebrate the completion of the new murals. The block party had live painting by over 20 artists, live bands, a dance battle organized by Find a Way, a pop-up skate park erected by D-Block, kids activities, a food and beer garden, and an art fair in the garage where local artists sold merchandise and did live screen printing.

Portland Street Art Alliance plans to make this an annual block party event that brings together artists from around the pacific northwest to celebrate and further seed art into the Central Eastside Industrial District and the City of Portland.

READ MORE ABOUT TAYLOR ELECTRIC

THE HISTORY OF TAYLOR ELECTRIC

ASHES, ART AND ARCHITECTURE: THE RICH HISTORY OF SIMPLE’S HOMEBASE

INTERIOR MURALS

Working in partnership with Killian Pacific and Simple Bank, PSAA has managed several interior office mural at Clay Creative, with plans for more. The aim is to provide local artists access to commission opportunities, and provide workers with an inspiring everyday environment to be in, in the heart of Portland’s Central Eastside Industrial District. 

THE GARAGE

In 2017, PSAA began organizing rotating painting inside the parking garage at Clay Creative. All garage murals are done on a volunteer basis by both PSAA and participating artists. These walls provide much needed space to build portfolios, experiment with new designs, and painting techniques. 


Produce Row Mural

In the fall of 2018, Portland Street Art Alliance (PSAA) was approached by Harsch Investments Properties. Harsch had recently purchased the old Coast Auto Supply building at SE 2nd & Stark in Portland’s Central Eastside Industrial District (CEID). In addition to repairing the windows and broken downspouts, Harsch was directed by the city to abatement the graffiti present on the outside of the building. Instead of just constantly buffing it, Harsch wanted to commission a mural by local artists that paid homage to the history of Produce Row. Located at 125 SE Stark St, this site has a long and colorful past, being in the heart of the city’s Produce Row for the past 83 years, and a popular space for graffiti art over the past decade. With Harsch’s support, PSAA hired a team of four lead artists from the MLS and 4SK crews in Portland to coordinate a massive dual-mural, wrapping around most of the warehouse along Stark, 2nd, and Oak Streets.

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The Produce Row Mural

Over the past six years, Portland Street Art Alliance has spearheaded several street art projects in the Central Eastside Industrial District such as Taylor Electric, Alexis Walls (across the street from Coast Auto), and the upcoming Viaduct Arts project. While we understand cities always change, loosing Coast Auto as a “defacto” space for graffiti sat heavy with us. With the neighborhood undergoing intense redevelopment, we took this as an opportunity to maintain this site as a space for local art, as the change in ownership also came with more security patrols and a regular maintenance schedule.

PSAA wanted to ensure that local artists would still have access to the walls, so two teams of long-time Portland-based graffiti artists were hired to produce a design that was inspired by the history of the district, but with a fresh new twist to the traditional history murals. Digging through archive records, the team landed on a simple concept - massive piles of Willamette Valley fruits and vegetables. The team wanted to experiment with showcasing both sides of their artistic abilities; a concept that is very rarely seen. The final composition blended painterly techniques with their unique text-based graffiti lettering. This experiment manifested itself in overlaid wild-style graffiti lettering, keeping to the colors of the background imagery.

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The mural painting took three months to complete, as the work had to be done incrementally due to Portland’s wet fall and winter weather. Most of the underlying base coats were done with bucket paint and rollers, and then the muralists added details with aerosol and brush paint.

PSAA is working with several Central Eastside property owners trying to ensure that art remains an integral part of the district’s identity. As the city and the district quickly changes beyond our collective control, we want to ensure that long time local graffiti culture is still part of the urban landscape. PSAA is dedicated to creating inclusive models for place and district-making by engaging diverse audiences and artists, and increasing access to public art opportunities such as this, while helping to support local and regional artists.

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Produce Row History

In 1913 Italian immigrants began establishing truck farms that supplied fruit and vegetable wholesalers in a bustling new riverside industrial district that became to be known as “Produce Row.” At the heart of this historic industrial area, are two parallel loading dock streets - 2nd & 3rd Avenues. These thoroughfares transect three viaducts - the Hawthorne Bridge, Morrison Bridge, and Burnside Bridge pass overhead creating deep cavern-like spaces cutting through the Central Eastside. In 1981 it was officially declared in as an ‘industrial sanctuary’ an effort to maintain its unique land use and character. Warehouses and storage facilities were a significant part of the district’s beginnings, and the area provided a variety of blue-collar jobs (Jones, 2014).

Today, SE 2nd and 3rd Avenues still rumble with heavy trucking activity, but the industrial uses have changed, with cleaner and lighter wholesalers, and an increasing number of exclusive commercial services, including fine dining restaurants, multi-media production, as well as high-end retail have begun moving into the CEID (Jones, 2014). This is juxtapose to Portland’s booming creative, tech, and service industry, which is closing in on this historic industrial sanctuary. The infamous DIY Burnside Skatepark lies just a few blocks north on SE 2nd Avenue, nestled underneath the Burnside Bridgehead surrounded by sparkling modern towers.

SE Alder St between 3rd and Union Avenues in 1940. The building on the left would later become Corno’s Market (City of Portland Archives)

SE Alder St between 3rd and Union Avenues in 1940. The building on the left would later become Corno’s Market (City of Portland Archives)

SE 3rd Avenue and SE Alder Street in 1950 (City of Portland Archives)

SE 3rd Avenue and SE Alder Street in 1950 (City of Portland Archives)

SE 3rd Avenue in 2018 (Portland Street Art Alliance)

SE 3rd Avenue in 2018 (Portland Street Art Alliance)

Produce Row used to be the home to dozens of produce warehouses, some of which are still in operation today. Family-owned Rinella Produce at 231 SE Alder St opened in 1914. The Rinella and Lombardo families immigrated from Sicily and Rome to the US. The business has been passed down from father to his son and is one of the oldest produce distribution buildings on the West Coast of the US.

Rinella Produce

Rinella Produce

Frank and David Rinella (Rinella Produce)

Frank and David Rinella (Rinella Produce)

Over the past three or four decades, Produce Row has nurtured newer generations of produce distributors. Pacific Coast Fruit Company at 201 NE 2nd Ave is another produce company that still exists on Produce Row. Pacific Coast was founded in 1977 by Emil Nemarnik. Today they have become one of the largest, independent produce distributors in the Northwest.

Pacific Coast Groundbreaking (Pacific Coast Fruit Company)

Pacific Coast Groundbreaking (Pacific Coast Fruit Company)

Alexis Foods at the corner of SE Stark and 2nd was established by Alexis Bakouros in 1987 after operating a successful Greek restaurant. Using his European contacts, Alexis was able to import high quality specialty foods from Greece, Spain, Italy and France. As the local market evolved and vendors emerged, Alexis Foods' product line expanded to also source crafted, locally sustainable products.

Even though Produce Row continues to thrive as a distribution hub, many of these warehouses and distributors are now gone, including the Independent Fruit and Produce Company pictured below. In the summer of 2017, Alexis Foods partnered with Portland Street Art Alliance to produce two murals by local artists, one of which depicts a series of Greek-style vases.

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Independent Fruit & Produce Co. at 705 SE MLK in 1932 (City of Portland Archives)

Independent Fruit & Produce Co. at 705 SE MLK in 1932 (City of Portland Archives)

Another lost landmark was the Corno family-owned produce market. Corno’s opened in 1951 and was a very popular and well-loved market in Portland. It closed its doors in 1995, and was torn down in 2006 to make way for a pipe project which runs under 3rd Ave now.

Corno Market (City of Portland Archives)

Corno Market (City of Portland Archives)

Today, the Sheridan Fruit Company at 409 SE MLK Blvd is the last of Portland’s ‘old-school’ produce markets. In 1916, John Sheridan started an open-air produce market on Union Avenue (now MLK Blvd). In 1946, the Poleo Brothers, whose family still owns and operates The Sheridan Fruit Company today, purchased the company and began a wholesale operation in 1950. 

Sheridan Fruit Company at 333 SE Alder St (Public Works Administration Archives)

Sheridan Fruit Company at 333 SE Alder St (Public Works Administration Archives)

Sheridan Fruit Company

Sheridan Fruit Company

Sheridan Fruit Company

Sheridan Fruit Company

Another Pacific Fruit & Produce Co. Building at SE 2nd & Alder, 1935 (City of Portland Archives)

Another Pacific Fruit & Produce Co. Building at SE 2nd & Alder, 1935 (City of Portland Archives)

The History of 125 SE Stark

Built in 1936, the building at 125 SE Stark St was originally home to Pacific Fruit and Produce, built and owned by the Portland Terminal Investment Company. Sometime in the 1980s it was purchased by Coast Auto Supply, which operated an auto supply business out of it until 2017 when it was acquired by Harsch.

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