We were excited to hear the news last week when the good folks at First Presbyterian Church of Woodburn submitted their application to erect a mural along the south side of their church wall facing Highway 214.

If approved, this would be just the second mural to go up in Woodburn since the Woodburn City Council approved the new public art mural program in 2012.

This is exciting news!

When CAPACES Leadership Institute unveiled the city’s first mural in September, it showed that the city’s efforts in passing a public mural ordinance were not in vain.

CAPACES demonstrated that there was an eager population waiting to take advantage of the freedom to beautify the city. The mural is a vibrant and colorful dedication to the generations of migrant workers who have worked hard to make Marion County an agricultural capital in the Northwest.

Where CAPACES got the ball rolling, the congregation at First Presbyterian picked it up and ran in a completely different direction. The mural they proposed is a much more subdued and realistic depiction of the Willamette Valley’s agricultural roots, with the majestic Mount Hood overlooking fields of grapes and wheat.

Both murals celebrate the city’s heritage of farming, but do it in completely different styles. It’s a beautiful symbol of Woodburn’s diverse multi-cultural population coming together to observe the same ideas in unique and contrasting ways.

It is no easy thing to pull together a project of such magnitude as a public mural, but with a great deal of work and dedication, it is possible for private citizens to work together and make Woodburn a truly special place to live.

We hope that the efforts of First Presbyterian and CAPACES encourages other groups to take notice. We hope this becomes a regular occurance, where gradually, over a period of many years, Woodburn becomes a scenic destination that is known just as well for its public art as it is by out-of-towners for its outlet mall shopping.

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