Slavin Road is the way to graffiti art
And the answer is … (drum roll) …..
The two paintings are on a retaining wall that is on an unused portion of old Slavin Road. The wall is north by northeast 50 or so yards beyond the #12 bus stop underneath the Capitol Highway overpass that swoops down onto Barbur. (See the red dot on the map.)
For the curious (and these two pieces of art really are worth a look), I recommend driving north along Barbur from Terwilliger and pulling into the parking space under the overpass. Then stroll down the old road.
Don Baack, who is president of SW Trails, and I were so impressed with the paintings on an old retaining wall that we’ve asked the state department of transportation not to paint them over. The state has put a bulldozer to work in the area to open it up for some test borings (more on this in the next issue of The Hillsdale News).
The old Slavin right-of-way an interesting area to explore. The hum of traffic on Barbur is up hill to the west, the roar of I-5 is immediately beneath you to the east. You can almost feel the history of more sedate times on old Slavin Road, named after John A. Slavin, who came to Oregon in 1850 and laid claim to the vast parcel of land in 1851. His family’s home was more or less where the Hillsdale Brew Pub sits.
Baack is particularly interested in the old Slavin route because it is designated as a bicycle segment for SW Trails ambitious Red Electric Trail. With the 'dozer team working in the area, the state crew might connect the upper and lower parts of Slavin. The two are divided by dense undergrowth. Slavin is an open street at its northern end. You reach it off Corbett.
A final note: I’m not a big fan of in-your-face graffiti and tags scrawled on public property. I've even scrubbed off tagging on street signs (graffiti eradication materials are available at the Southwest Neighborhoods Inc office). And I applaud City Commissioner Randy Leonard’s efforts to place restrictions on the sale of spray paint. It remains to be seen whether it will make a difference.
But in the right places, this is a form of artistic expression that we should encourage. It’s a little like skateboarding. In the wrong places, it is destructive and dangerous; in the right ones, it’s a joy to do and behold.