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Pamplin Media Group – Oregon City mayor names nine people to new Arts Commission

Diverse appointees plan to approve mural proposals exempt from limits of municipal sign code

PMG PHOTO: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Hailey Willett, daughter of Modified Screen Printing owner Sarah Willett, stands in front of the historic mural on the company's Main Street building.Mayor Rachel Lyles Smith recently appointed nine people to Oregon City’s newly created Arts Commission, tasked with approving mural proposals for designated areas of town.

Arts Commission members represent a broad spectrum of people involved with the performing arts, visual arts and architecture in Clackamas County.COURTESY PHOTO: TRIESTE ANDREWS - Mural restoration project manager and artist Cathy Rowe gets media attention on Oregon City's Main Street in September.

Three Rivers Artist Guild President Trieste Andrews, secretary of OC Rotary Club and chairperson of the OC Festival of the Arts, is also an artist working primarily with oils and acrylics.

“Bringing art into Oregon City of course is an avenue for greater prosperity and economic development, but more importantly it can bring our community together for the betterment of all,” Andrews wrote in her Arts Commission application. “Art can create greater diversity and inclusion which I believe is tantamount for Oregon City’s future success.”

Lewis & Clark College Assistant Professor Mary Andrus, co-founder of the school’s Art for Social Change program, is also a parent volunteer at John McLoughlin Elementary in OC.

“Oregon City is a town that could use more public art and could be leveraged as a space that brings people together to build connections, relationships and honor its unique history,” she wrote in her application to the Arts Commission.

Clackamas County land use and transportation planner Karen Buehrig, as a Girl Scout Leader and OC resident, participated in the revitalization of DC Latourette Park and worked with OC to develop a street painting project.

“I am very interested in the interface of art with the public realm, such as on streets and in parks. There are many opportunities to implement placemaking opportunities with art,” Buehrig wrote in her application.

Tima Carlson, an environmental scientist in the geotechnical field, is also the coordinator for the Soulflags Art Community Center that recently open on Main Street in OC. Carlson previously volunteered on the PTA and as an arts coordinator at Holcomb Elementary.

“I love the arts and feel more should be seen around the city,” Carlson wrote.

Selena Jones, the festival coordinator for Lakewood Center for the Arts, oversees six art exhibits, directs seven volunteer project teams, marketing, community outreach and event logistics.

“Oregon City is in the unique position to offer a flourishing art scene among (and complimentary to) its historic buildings and natural features, setting it apart from Portland and nearby towns as a valuable destination for tourists and community-minded businesses,” Jones wrote.

Practicing artist Emma Lugo, a resident of OC for 11 years will be transitioning to the Arts Commission after serving as a Budget Committee member.

“I enjoy remaining engaged in the arts and serving my community,” Lugo wrote in her application.

A former Budget Committee member, Josh Planton has worked for Beaverton-based VTM Group for seven years, focused on technology standards and cyrptocurrencies.

“As a member of this committee, I believe I will be able to help influence how art is

perceived in our community and help establish works which will be a legacy of the cultural and demographic changes/impacts which will define Oregon City for future generations,” Planton wrote.

Lewis & Clark’s visual arts and technology program manager, Tammy Jo Wilson co-founded the nonprofit organization Art in Oregon, which partnered with Clackamas County Historical Society to host an ongoing Artist-in-Residence program at the Stevens-Crawford Heritage House in OC.

“I’m interested in this committee because I believe art has the power to make Oregon City a vibrant thriving city for both residents and visitors,” Wilson wrote. “Art is an essential part of our lives and economy. I feel I have a responsibility as an artist, a homeowner in OC, a nonprofit leader, and a person of color to actively contribute to the betterment of Oregon City.”

Jenn Woodward has served on the board of the North American Hand Papermakers and has previously served as a board member for Art on Alberta.

“Being relatively new to the Oregon City community, I am interested in being more directly involved in supporting the arts here,” Woodward wrote. “The arts have been a presence throughout my life, and I cannot imagine living in a world without them.”

Murals approved through the city’s new program will be exempt from a municipal sign code that has severely limited the creation of murals in OC. In approving new murals, officials hope to enhance the city’s aesthetics, provide avenues for original artistic expression, and reduce graffiti and other crime. In cooperation with the Downtown Oregon City Association, murals also will be allowed on building rooftops visible from the top of the Municipal Elevator and the McLoughlin Promenade.

Under the city’s newly adopted code, no public mural may contain electrical components, three-dimensional elements, moving structural elements or any automated method that causes movement. Murals won’t be allowed on most residential buildings, including designated historic structures that originally were constructed for residential use.

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