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Let the rock mural at Safeway be seen again

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: SARAH DEMERRITT - The mural at the Safeway on A Avenue was a popular sight for many years in Lake Oswego. Most of the wall is still there, but it is now covered up. This photo was taken in 1998. SUBMITTED PHOTO: SARAH DEMERRITTHere, in the art-inspired community of Lake Oswego, there’s a gem behind a wall. It happens to be right here in our own neighborhood, our downtown Safeway store, to be exact — located on a south-facing wall behind the floral department. Covered in 2003 during Safeway’s remodel, it has been hidden.

However, this gem was enjoyed and viewed by many for 43 years from 1960-2003.

When I lived in Lake Oswego in the late 1960s, this mural was a part of my young life. I enjoyed seeing the map-like rock mural of the lake with saiboats and ski boats, a marvelous piece of artwork designed and created by Arvid Orbeck, a Norwegian designer well known in the Portland art arena. In fact, Arvid Orbeck was part of the designer’s roundtable that met in Portland long ago. His work appears as well at Chemeketa Community College in large panels that go all around one of the buildings on campus. He also designed the logo for Mt. Bachelor.

As I continued to shop at Safeway and take my routine walks around the town, I remembered the mural and realized it was gone. Asking around I found out it was covered over by a wall and that it is 95 percent intact. I remembered how lovely it was, and I kept on thinking about this amazing piece of work and history.

Our community embraces history and art. We see it in every block we walk. As a resident of this community, I think there are others as well who would appreciate revisiting this historic piece of artwork that typifies our lake community. What a perfect example this mural could be as part of the Gallery Without Walls. What a treasure we have still hidden here, waiting to be seen again.

If we are truly to be stewards of history and art, then I think this rock mural deserves to be uncovered, restored and preserved — to share with Lake Oswego once again.

Evie Proctor is a Lake Oswego resident.



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