It seems like it's been a long time in the making, but finally the dream has come to fruition: The city of Woodburn's third mural has been successfully installed on the south wall of the Woodburn Independent office building.
The achievement has little to nothing to do with the newspaper, however. All the credit goes to the Woodburn Downtown Association, Oregon Community Foundation, Woodburn Rotary and muralist Hector Hernandez, who put in hundreds of hours to bring this colorful depiction of Woodburn's history to life.
When the product wasn't finished by last fall, we were dismayed, wondering if this would be yet another broken promise to spruce up our neighborhood. But as soon as the weather turned for the better late this spring, Hernandez and volunteers were actively trying to put the mural in place.
It might sound self-serving, but even from an objective standpoint, we are confident this was the best place in the downtown core for a mural. With an entire empty wall with nothing but a cement face (and a tiny window), the south facade of the Independent office building was screaming to be decorated. And, much to our chagrin, many graffiti artists and taggers over the years answered that call.
We're grateful to former publisher Nikki DeBuse for envisioning the potential and doing something about it. Seeing that wall every day when she drove into work, she was inspired to spur on the downtown association to seek out grants. Because of those efforts, her vision became a reality.
It's also fitting that a mural depicting various parts of Woodburn's history should go on the wall of the business that has been here the longest. The Woodburn Independent has been in business since December 1888, even before the city of Woodburn was incorporated in 1889.
With the Settlemier House, steam train, loggers, Russian Orthodox Church, Fiesta Mexicana dancers, tulip fields, cowboy and farm worker depicted on our wall, the story of how Woodburn was built is told to the casual observer passing by.
We have received so many uplifting comments about the beauty of the colorful mural. We saw the renderings long ago, but that didn't prepare us for how spectacular the real thing would be.
So thank you to all who made this happen. We hope this contribution to beautifying downtown goes a long way to inspire more beautification projects or, at the very least, to brighten the days of those who see it.