Lloyd EcoDistrict's First Intersection Painting!

The Lloyd District’s First Intersection Mural

By Devon Snyder, devon@ecolloyd.org

The original idea for the Lloyd intersection mural belongs to Danielle Jones, a previous intern with Lloyd EcoDistrict. During her tenure with the organization, Danielle laid the groundwork for the project. When I came on in March 2016, Danielle had amassed a binder full of potential locations, design inspirations, and City Repair project tips. Throughout that summer, we worked together to create outreach materials and project timelines. When Danielle’s internship ended in September, the project was handed over to me.  

Since that day, this effort has been a labor of love (emphasis on labor). There were a number of hiccups along the way, as was to be expected with this kind of project. Trying to create something like this in a primarily commercial neighborhood proved to be a big factor for how quickly things moved along. Additionally, because Lloyd is so different from residential neighborhoods like Woodstock or Sunnyside, we knew we had to take a different approach to developing our mural. The residential community in Lloyd is still much smaller than the business community. Because of this, we saw an advantage to working with two organizations that had prior mural experience – muralist duo Travis and Jon, known as Rather Severe, and arts nonprofit Color Outside the Lines. We knew that their expertise and enthusiasm would add a lot of support to our small but growing group of engaged residents. We came across these two groups back in December, when they were working on a mural along NE Weidler and MLK. Color Outside the Lines engages foster and at-risk youth in arts education and public projects. On Christmas Eve, they had a group of kids out adding the finishing touches to Rather Severe’s mural. Many of the same youth that we saw working late into the evening back in December joined us to create our mural in August. 

On painting day, volunteers from Wells Fargo, kids from Color Outside the Lines came together  to get creative, eat popsicles, and do some abstract feet painting. Throughout the day, we had folks from Calaroga Terrace, a senior living facility located right next to the mural site, stop by to learn about the project and bring our volunteers lemonade. Residents from Miracles Center, an affordable housing community supported by Central City Concern, also joined in; one woman even livestreamed the event on Facebook. It was a hot, busy, nonstop day for a lot of us, and in the end Travis and Jon worked late into the night to add the final details to the mural. When I went back early Monday to remove the street closure barriers, I was blown away by what I saw. The final mural was spectacular, so colorful and bright that it almost didn’t seem real. As commuters began to drive through intersection, heads gawked out of car windows, bicyclists stopped to take selfies. A resident from Calaroga Terrace out on their morning walks expressed how much they love the mural. It warmed my heart. Part of the reason why we selected the location at NE 2nd and Clackamas was because of its proximity to the senior living facility. In engaging this elder community and partnering with the kids from Color Outside the Lines, the mural was a truly multigenerational effort and a reflection of our neighborhood.  

Since the mural’s completion, we have received so much positive feedback. Volunteers, project partners, and colleagues in Lloyd continue to reach out to say how much they love the mural. Currently, we are in the midst of seeking a name for the mural and are looking for ideas from the community. So far popular suggestions include “The Cosmic Donut” and “Roundy McSplotcherson.” We hope that this piece can be a bright spot in an otherwise fairly commercial neighborhood. We see this initial mural as a foundation for other projects to be built upon and something that residents, visitors, and employees of Lloyd can rally behind and identify with as a symbol of our community.