Sweet Home’s murals to receive touch-up

The Sweet Home Active Revitalization Effort is restarting the community mural program to restore existing murals and perhaps add new murals.

Retired Sweet Home High School art teacher Gail Gregory is heading a subcommittee of SHARE. Sweet Home Economic Development Group has set aside $6,000 to restore the mural program.

“You might be surprised, but there are a lot of people that come to Sweet Home to see the murals or drive through and see them,” Gregory said. “It is quite a tourist attraction.”

And it’s worth taking pride in them, she said. It’s part of Sweet Home’s identity.

“We’ve been looking at the murals and seeing what needs to be done,” Gregory said.

On Friday, Gregory, Bill Nyara and Linda Wakefield met with artist Larry Kangas to look at murals and discuss options for fixing the murals.

“Some we thought couldn’t be restored,” Gregory said, but Kangas explained some different options for restoring the deteriorating murals, which were expected to last about 10 years.

The committee will try to restore two or three murals per year and, if possible, add new ones as it can afford it.

Most of the murals were painted in 1994, Gregory said. Some of them remain in good condition. The Oregon Department of Transportation mural is in about the best shape. The mural at Sweet Home Lanes also is in good shape.

The “toll gate” mural at 12th and Main and the mural on Speedee Mart are considered in the worst shape, Gregory said.

Both have heavy peeling, she said.

Kangas described a sort of “super gel” and sealant that can be used to fill cracks, she said. Then the artists can repaint over the murals.

The original mural committee made 10-year agreements with building owners, Gregory said, so the new committee will have some renegotiation to do with property owners.

The committee will turn to the original artists to restore the murals, Gregory said. Kangas, from the Beaverton area, did the majority of the murals. Tim Meyer of Sweet Home painted a number, and Ann Woodruff of Junction City did some.

Kangas painted the most recent murals, “Old Scout” on the side of Bentley’s auto repair shop and the American Flag on the side of Hoy’s Hardware.

The flag is bubbling from moisture, Gregory said, but there is a process to fix that.

The committee has not identified which murals it will work on first, Gregory said, but she expects that the first will be some tests on the fire engine on the side of a building owned by Lee Field’s. The building houses a gunsmith business and is located next to the Fire Hall. It has a moss problem and some fine cracks.

Once the tests are done in early summer, she said, the committee will move on to other murals.

The program will need volunteers, especially for helping clean murals this summer. To volunteer or donate to the program, call Gregory at 367-2953.