Popular bike mural ‘too big,’ must come down

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The owner of Pedal Bike Tours says he must remove his bike mural off SW 2nd Avenue and Ash Street because it’s too big.

Pedal Bike Tours Owner Todd Roll said for the past two years, tourists, journalists and locals have stopped to take a picture in front of the mural that reads, “Welcome to America’s Bicycle Capital.”

“The whole idea was if you put it too small you wouldn’t even see it, it would look silly. So we have a giant building, why not go for it? It would be big and beautiful,” said Roll.

Last February, Roll said he and the building’s owner received a letter in the mail that stated someone complained about the size of the 1,650 square foot mural.

With his landlord’s permission, Roll said he and his wife had the mural painted in 2012 and was told a city permit was not necessary because the mural falls into a protected category of displays.

According to city code, if a sign or mural has ever existed before on a building, then painting over it again in the future is OK no matter the size.

“We were made to understand that it could be grandfathered because there had been a sign there previously,” said Roll.

While Roll and the landlord thought they were exempt, they could not find any photos to prove a mural existed on the building in the past.

“There’s nothing there to base your grandfather claim on, so they said our next option was to take it down or apply for a permit. So that’s when we applied for a permit, and once again, they said it was far too large,” said Roll.

The Bureau of Development said the maximum size for a mural on the building is 300 square feet.

Roll said now the mural will come down in two days. He said it’s hard not to feel singled out or insulted with murals all around the city of greater size.

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