Graffiti tarnishes Centennial Mills tower

Centennial Mills in the north Pearl District area has been an iconic landmark since the Great Depression. A project to clean up the graffiti on the water tower will begin soon, June 12, 2013 (KOIN 6 News/Ellen Hansen)
Centennial Mills in the north Pearl District area has been an iconic landmark since the Great Depression. A project to clean up the graffiti on the water tower will begin soon, June 12, 2013 (KOIN 6 News/Ellen Hansen)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Since the Great Depression, Centennial Mills has been part of Portland’s history and is even seen on paintings of the city’s skyline.

But without graffiti.

Centennial Mills in the north Pearl District area has been an iconic landmark since the Great Depression. A project to clean up the graffiti on the water tower will begin soon, June 12, 2013 (KOIN 6 News/Ellen Hansen)
Centennial Mills in the north Pearl District area — shown here in a June 12, 2013, image — has been an iconic landmark since the Great Depression. A project to clean up the graffiti on the water tower is expected soon. (KOIN 6 News/Ellen Hansen)

For years, the mill has been targeted by graffiti artists who managed to get to it despite razor barbed wire.

Neighbors in this historic north Pearl District area are pressing the Portland Development Commission — which owns the building — to clean it up. But a private bid puts clean up costs between $22,000 and $35,000.

The roof is unsafe and the fire department doesn’t have equipment to reach that high.

Centennial Mills in the north Pearl District area has been an iconic landmark since the Great Depression. A project to clean up the graffiti on the water tower will begin soon, June 12, 2013 (KOIN 6 News/Ellen Hansen)
Centennial Mills in the north Pearl District area — shown here in a June 12, 2013, image — has been an iconic landmark since the Great Depression. A project to clean up the graffiti on the water tower is expected soon. (KOIN 6 News/Ellen Hansen)

Given the iconic nature of the water tower, the clean up is necessary. A project will begin within the next few weeks, but leaders believe there is an easier and better way to clean it up.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the PDC’s Shawn Uhlman said in a statement, “Over the past few days, we’ve worked with our partners at the Office of Management and Finance to determine if there was a more cost-effective way to deal with the graffiti issue. We determined that a contractor can safely access the tower and remove the graffiti for approximately $5,000.”

A project to clean up the graffiti on the water tower is expected soon.

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