By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Initially, the process of putting up a public mural in Keizer looked to be easy.
Then it looked like the project would be delayed by months – if not canceled altogether.
Now the original timeline could be met after all.
That was the information coming after the first Keizer Arts Commission meeting June 16. The meeting, chaired by Mayor Lore Christopher, lasted all of five minutes.
Most of the meeting consisted of Rick Day, owner of Advantage Precast, talking about the shape of the west wall at Keizer Florist. Artist Colleen Goodwin-Chronister was selected last year to do a three-part mural which will depict irises, grapes, the river, a vineyard and other scenery.
The original timeline called for the wall to be prepped in February and March, with the actual painting set to begin in April.
However, questions over whether murals are allowed in city code and if the wall on a leased building can be utilized slowed things down. The Keizer Arts Commission was established in part to help projects get going.
Day initially thought the wall would be brick and mortar, but instead found fiber cement.
“It’s delaminating on the left side,” Day said. “We visited the tenant, Julie Wallace and I talked to Colleen this morning. She’s flexible. She’s planning to black out the background so we can condense it to fit in the area.
“I talked to the building owner,” Day added. “He purchased it like that about six years ago. He said to do what we need to do. We can do some adhesive and fill the cracks. All parties are OK with us fixing it as is.”
The five commission members unanimously approved a motion to allow the mural as designed, with some sizing flexibility based on the condition of the building.
Afterwards, Day said he is volunteering his efforts to do surface repairs. He’s hoping the repairs can be made by the end of next week.
“It will be minor repairs,” he said. “We’ll be in and out for a few hours, over a couple of days. The big thing is it has to be dry.”
Jill Hagen, a Keizer Arts Commission member who is also with the Keizer Art Association, is thankful for Day’s assistance.
“We had originally said August for this,” she said. “It looks like we will start within the week. I am hopeful we are able to make the timeline. I was worried.”
Hagen said a mural tea party last month raised about $1,000 towards the project. She is hoping for funding to pay Goodwin-Chronister, while also hoping someone can loan the KAA scaffolding to use for a few weeks while the project is done. A message can be left at 503-390-3010.
“Colleen is an incredible artist who has done murals in several states,” Hagen said. “It will be a beautiful mural. I’m incredibly grateful she has been so flexible with her design, her hours and her time for putting it up.”
For Day, it’s a perfect chance to do more work with his new general manager Rob Miller, who was named 2014 Merchant of the Year at January’s Keizer First Citizen Awards banquet, just days after parting ways with longtime employer Hertz Equipment Rentals. Day won that award three years earlier.
“He’s the first GM I’ve had,” Day said of Miller. “I’m happy to have Rob on board. He knows about equipment and the community. He’s got family with building experience. They are good community folks. It’s a perfect fit.”