Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Mill Pond Park in Vernonia has an old lumber mill fuel bunker whose walls are still standing, although the roof is long gone. Inside its serene walls is some amazing graffiti. We were there last April and wanted to return to see the changes. After visiting in the middle of the summer, my conjecture is that spring is probably the best time to visit, when the graffiti mostly consists of grand murals that clearly take hours and a formidable level of skill to create dominate the walls. After the school year ends, I'm guessing the walls are regularly attacked by bored teens. Serious graffiti artists, even the ones with the least experience and skill, create distinct tags for themselves, and there is a pecking order and a protocol for where to paint. Teens seem to simply get a thrill from painting random bad words wherever. We arrived to find a group of kids, one of whom was in the act of painting his full name in large letters all over the place. (Uh...maybe not the brightest idea?) Spray cans and even paint tubes were everywhere. The fact that a bunch of the spray cans weren't even empty suggests that the people who left them there really didn't have anywhere else to use them. Yet underneath the defacing, we saw motifs and images we recognized from the late, great ruins of Taylor Electric in Portland, the legendary graffiti haven. Many of the murals bore dates which fit within the previous school year. Jasper found a half full can and painted a few stripes and a smiley face, and announced that he finally understood why people think it's fun. Hopefully after school resumes in the fall, the real artists will return, and by next spring the murals will be repaired or replaced by even more glorious creations. There is a $5 parking fee at the park.