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Volunteers upgrade Pine Street mural

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The mural, created by artist and Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office Deputy Federico Diaz, at the Pine Street underpass received some paint and polish on Friday.

The touch-up came from community members, Blue Mountain Action Council, Commitment to Community, Hot Mama’s Espresso, Life Church and the local Crime Prevention Program.

Delia Gutierrez, with BMAC, helped coordinate the event. She wants to focus on positives during the current year of crises.

The mural had suffered some graffiti a while back, so repairs were made. But the chemicals used caused the painting to deteriorate.

“Now the paint is peeling off ... therefore we have to fix it. We are not changing anything, just repainting it,” she said.

Discussions were ongoing about the next step to beautify the mural. The outcome was just working together to repaint the mural. Like everything else, the pandemic changed the plan for the repainting. The work needed to be done by fewer people.

“Most of the time when we have this type of event, we have a lot of participants, but for our community safety, we are not spreading the word,” Gutierrez said. The target was about 15 people so they can social distance and stay safe while working together.

The group included all ages, community members, property owners, a wide variety of concerned souls.

The focus is on the positive energy from the project, the restoration of the mural’s color and life.

The reason the mural, painted by Diaz, was created in the first place was to add more beauty in the neighborhood, according to Gutierrez.

Also, having something installed there, rather than a blank wall, was meant to discourage defacing graffiti and enhance community pride.

Karlene Ponti can be reached at karleneponti@wwub.com or 509-526-8324.

Karlene Ponti began as Special Publications Writer in 1999, work includes Lifestyles, The Weekly and Business Monthly. After Wa-Hi, Ponti attended Whitman and is a UW graduate. Later she was ordained a Christian minister at CDM Spiritual Teaching Center.