By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Hopefully it won’t be a smokin’ deal.
Members of the Keizer Public Arts Association have talked about the idea of painting utility boxes along River Road for some time. Now there’s a possible new twist: doing wraps on the boxes.
Nate Brown, director of Community Development for Keizer, brought up the idea during the most recent KPAC meeting.
“This company will do a template, then wrap the box,” Brown said. “It costs $300 to $600 for them to wrap the box. It’s graffiti-resistant. It’s a like a vinyl car wrap.”
In response to a question from KPAC chair Lore Christopher, Brown said art gets printed digitally onto the wrap before installation. A JPEG file is sent, which gets printed on the vinyl.
Jessi Long pointed out the elections department in the Marion County Clerk’s Office uses a similar product for ballot boxes.
Beth Melendy wanted to make sure research has been done to ensure the wraps won’t cause the boxes to overheat.
“3M says the material doesn’t add to the thermal loading,” Brown said. “If it’s black, it raises the internal temperature by 15 degrees. This company is working with Salem and will do this on six boxes. We will be able to use that and see.”
Christopher liked the idea and suggested doing fundraising to secure the necessary money.
Brown pointed out one advantage to doing wraps versus the original idea of painting directly onto the boxes is artists would be in a more controlled environment and not having to stand on the street. On the other hand, Melendy liked the idea of boxes being painted since it would allow people passing by to see the progress.
“I’d say do both,” Christopher said.
Brown estimated there are 12 traffic control boxes that could be part of the project.
“I think we can get organizations to sign up,” Christopher said. “We can ask a company which one they’d like to sponsor. You guys, I can sell this stuff. I’m sure the Elks Club would sponsor it. That is not a barrier. Especially if we can get McNary High School kids involved, people want to support their kids.”
Brown cautioned the boxes in Salem need to be watched first.
“We need the Salem project to move forward so they can see that the traffic boxes don’t blow up with this,” he said. “We could do it for next summer.”
Christopher wanted to get moving and wasn’t keen on the idea of waiting for Salem.
“I don’t have faith Salem will move that quickly,” she said. “It took them four years to do chickens (rules). Let’s pick a location where there are two boxes and make it a pilot project. We can roll it out to students at McNary and have them come up with the design. It can be a project for next summer, but I want kids to work on it this school year.”
The way Christopher figures it, there’s always an alternative plan if needed.
“If it gets too warm, we could slit it and take it off,” she said. “We’re kind of excited, Nate. I love this idea.”
In other recent KPAC news:
• The wall along Town & Country Lanes has been coated in gray primer, with that work concluding last Saturday. Lettering will be done soon, with the public mural set to be done next year.
• Roberto Oran, the artist recently featured in the Keizertimes, appeared at the KPAC meeting and offered his help with the mural.
• Mike Hare’s art was approved to hang on the walls of the Keizer Civic Center. Hare’s work went up last week and will be up through the end of the year. See elsewhere on this page for some samples of the work.