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Slow down, and enjoy the art, say Eastmorelanders

by: COLLIN MURPHY - Heres the completed Bybee Circle street art in Eastmoreland.Building a sense of community, beautifying their street, and encouraging motorists to slow down on S.E. Bybee Boulevard, were three of the reasons neighbors gathered at Eastmoreland’s “Bybee Circle” at S.E. 27th Avenue on June 29th, painting gear in hand.

Throughout the day, neighbors painted a “street mural” around the traffic circle.

Instead of being a city street, S.E. 27th Avenue is a disused right-of-way that’s been turned into a community “guerrilla garden” by neighbor Sean Jacobson.

“I've been studying the permaculture design [creating sustainable human habitats, in harmony with the larger ecosystems of which they are a part] for about four years,” Jacobson said.

“In doing this, I came across a lot of ideas, such as Mark Lakeman’s idea of ‘place and community building’ and traditional food for history. I came to the conclusion that, when you put it all together, it helps make a real, sustainable village feeling.” Lakeman, of the Village Building Convergence, was the force behind Sellwood’s “Share-It Square”, among other projects.

The street painting idea came about as an “additional bonus”, Jacobson said. “The neighbors took it on and went with it. I think it's great to have this circle look pretty, and not just be a vacant space.”

Artist Collin Murphy created the design for the mural.

“It’s a symbol of love for the City,” Murphy told THE BEE. “We have two salmon, swimming around the traffic circle. There is a male salmon on one side and a female salmon on the other side. We have Mt. Hood at the east end, the Willamette River at the west end. You’ll also see rainbows and clouds.”

It a sense, it was a giant “paint-by-numbers” project. From Murphy’s original artwork, they overlaid a grid. Section by section, features of each grid square were reproduced in the painting area. “It was a little more tedious than I expected,” the artist admitted.

In addition to beautifying the neighborhood, Murphy said, “We want people to slow down. People drive much too fast around this circle.”