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Art display provides avenue to support Orlando victims, LGBT community during Pride Week

TRIBUNE PHOTO: BIANCA PAHL - A Pride Week attendee took a moment to share a message on the Doors of Love wall. Messages of love, support and peace were scribbled all over a wall of 80 doors on the Portland waterfront last weekend.

The “Doors of Love” project, a Portland Pride Week event, began on Friday June 17 on the waterfront off of Naito Parkway and Southwest Pine Street.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) created a display of 80 doors in the shape of a question mark with the words “Love ORL” written all over them. People were encouraged to express their love for Pride, Orlando and peace by writing TRIBUNE PHOTO: BIANCA PAHL  - The Doors of Love featured ORL in large letters to show solidarity with the people of Orlando, site of the recent massacre at Pulse night club.messages on the doors, says Greg Raisman, a PBOT employee and creator of the project.

With the shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, this project and Pride weekend came at an important time, Raisman says. “People are feeling a little bit more like they need to come out and express themselves, and show strength, so I think it’s the perfect moment to express this kind of thing.”

With the question mark, Raisman wanted to provoke questions such as “where are we going and where do we want to be?”

There is no significance to the amount of doors used to construct the project.

TRIBUNE PHOTO: BIANCA PAHL  - Mau Sullivan (left) and Grace Passerotti (right with face paint) watched people sign the Doors of Love at Waterfront Park. On Friday morning the doors were blank, with only “Love ORL” written on them in light pink paint. By Sunday evening the doors were transformed, with thousands of messages written on them and “Love ORL” was bolder in a bright red paint.

People from all over the world left notes of love, support and peace on the doors. One message read, “Australia loves you, Orlando.” Another read, “love always prevails.” Along with original messages, others quoted philosophers, songs, poems and much more.

Many of the messages were about the Orlando shooting.

“Everybody is struggling with how to express their sadness over this kind of stuff,” said first-time Pride week attendee Chris Meacham. “This is an awesome way for people to have a quiet moment, reflect and write something from the heart.”

James Waldner, the president of the Board of Directors for Pride Northwest, Inc. says the project was a medium for people in Portland to feel like they could do something. “I think it’s a nexus or a hub for healing.”

Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees PBOT, is a supporter of Pride week and showed up Friday morning to support and promote the “Doors of Love” project.

“It’s meant to be an affirmation of the power of love and an opportunity for people to express their love and solidarity by coming down and signing the doors,” Novick said.

The doors were taken down Monday afternoon. Some of the doors will be on display at Portland City Hall’s atrium for the next month.

Waldner and Raisman are currently searching for a permanent place to display all 80 doors.

The doors, along with over 500 feet of 2-by-4s, were donated by The Rebuilding Center to construct the project.