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Eugene's newest mural vandalized.

Byline: Dylan Darling The Register-Guard

A new mural in Eugene didn't make it a week before a vandal or vandals marked it with tagger graffiti.

The owners of Vistra Framing and Gallery, along with a couple of their employees, spent a couple of hours Tuesday morning scrubbing the silver-and-gold graffiti off the Lawrence Street wall of their building at 411 W. Fourth Avenue.

"The person who did it had to have known we would take it off," said Scott Lewis, who owns the business with his father, Lloyd Lewis. "It's annoying."

Chinese spray paint artist Hua Tunan spent a week in Eugene creating the mostly red mural depicting an epic battle between tigers and a dragon. Hua finished the public art Thursday, making it the fourth mural in the 20x21 Mural Project. Organized by the city of Eugene's Public Art Program, the project is commissioning artists from around the world to come to Eugene and make murals.

Painting started last summer, and the three previous murals are in the alley by Cowfish at 62 W. Broadway, created by the Brazil- based Acidum Project; on the west side of the McDonald Theatre at 1010 Willamette St., by Beau Stanton; and on the Wildcraft Cider Press house at 254 Lincoln St., by Steven Lopez. Stanton and Lopez are well known American muralists.

This week marked the first time that someone vandalized art in the 20x21 Project, said Sarah-Kate Sharkey, city of Eugene resource development and communications manager. The project aims to have 20 murals up around the city in time for the 2021 International Association of Athletics Federation track and field championships at Hayward Field.

"We were very disappointed," Sharkey said Tuesday about the graffiti.

A sidewalk passes along the large east wall of the Vistra building, just south of the railroad tracks between Third and Fourth avenues. Lloyd Lewis said he hoped to deter taggers by adding the public art.

He was dismayed by the graffiti Tuesday morning. "We don't want to have a whole crew out here for two hours every day," he said.

Lewis said it cost him about $100 an hour to have his son and workers cleaning the wall rather than doing their regular business.

That comes in addition to the $1,000 he spent on catalyzed anti-graffiti coating. The coating protected the 115-foot-long mural, but it still took hours to clean and repair with some touch-up paint.

Using scouring pads and brushes, the cleanup crew wiped away the graffiti with citrus soap and water. Lewis said he plans to put more protective coating on the mural, and he and his son are talking about adding surveillance cameras and lights.

Eugene-based Forrest Paint plans to donate the protective coating needed for future murals in the 20x21 Mural Project, Sharkey said, adding that the vandalism at Vistra demonstrates why it is needed.

"As soon as a mural is finished, we want to be putting that coat up there right away," she said.

The vandal or vandals appeared to sign their tags on the Lawrence Street mural with a "3G" or "36." Checking out photos of the vandalism, Cameron Rich, a worker at Tactics Boardshop, said the store also was hit by similar graffiti about a week ago. The store is across Lawrence Street from Vistra, and another Tactics worker painted over the vandalism.

Rich and a couple of his co-workers said they were glad to see the tiger mural go up in their neighborhood and disappointed to have it defaced so fast. "Way to ruin it, graffiti guy," Rich said.

Follow Dylan on Twitter @DylanJDarling. Email dylan.darling@register
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Title Annotation:Crime; Lots of elbow grease and a bit of touch-up paint restore the latest installment in Eugene's 20x21 Mural Project
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 28, 2017
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