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Commissioner Sam Adams

CITY OF PORTLAND, OREGON
OFFICE OF PUBLIC UTILITIES
December 2, 2008

‘Murals’ Town Hall December 16th 5:30-7:00pm at Portland City Hall

Murals Town Hall Invite.pdf

For decades, public murals have captured the spirit of the City of Portland: our community, our
emphasis on sustainability, and our vision. They are an important venue for artists to express
themselves, help our residents claim their neighborhoods and discourage crime.
Murals were exempted from the City’s sign code for many years, until legal challenges left City
leaders with no choice but to reluctantly discontinue the exemption in 1998. As a result, for
several years the production of community murals came to a near standstill. Thanks to Mayor
Vera Katz’s leadership, the work of many concerned citizens, and a new legal opinion, the
Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) became empowered to approve murals through the
city’s Public Art Program. Now discussions are underway to create an alternative process for the
City to consider community murals for those individuals/organizations who may not choose to
apply for funding through RACC’s Public Art Mural Program. We welcome your help with this
effort.

As a community member concerned with the future of murals in Portland, we are inviting you to
join us at a “Murals Town Hall”, at City Hall, on December 16th, in Council Chambers from
5:30 pm to 7:00 pm (doors open at 5:15) to help create a permitting process exclusively for
murals. This discussion will interest neighborhood leaders as well as artists, as a new murals
program could transform Portland’s visual landscape. Guiding questions for the discussion will
include:
• Under State and Federal constitutions, the City cannot approve or reject a proposed mural
based on its content. Do you think the benefit of encouraging vibrant community artwork
outweighs the potential that some murals may be objectionable to some individuals?
• How do you think murals should be controlled in neighborhoods with strong design
traditions and rules?
• In what areas of the City - residential, commercial, industrial - should we allow murals?
• What level of public involvement and notification do you think is appropriate for mural
applications?

The Town Hall will begin with a presentation, followed by a discussion panel and input from the
audience. For more information, please visit websites for the Bureau of Planning or the Regional Arts and Culture Council.

I look forward to seeing you there,
Commissioner Sam Adams

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