Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Taylor Electric Supply had a warehouse in SE Portland a few blocks from OMSI which was the size of a city block, until May 2006. A stack of wooden pallets sitting outside of the building caught fire. I'm not sure if it was ever determined if the fire was started accidentally or it was a case of arson. But it became one of the biggest fires on record in SE Portland. Fortunately no one was hurt, but the building was reduced to walls. Today it is a temple to graffiti art. It's obviously a place that graffiti artists can get into easily and have as much time as they need to create spectacular images. Of course, it's not going to be there forever. Apparently pollution from toxins released during the fire has officially been abated. Developers have plans to tear down the ruins and build a 60,000 square foot office/retail space. Portland does not have a lot of graffiti and does have a strong graffiti abatement program, which of course most people consider a good thing. But some of it is purely creative expression without any sinister purpose, and vandalism is a bit beside the point at this location. Given our tolerance for the commercial messages that dominate our shared public spaces, the more artistic graffiti can be a nice change of pace. It's definitely worthwhile to stop by and see this outdoor, free public art exhibit while it lasts! It's located at SE 3rd Ave. and Market St.