A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods


‘Evil happens, but good can always get the last word’ – mural unveiled

December 31st, 2009 · Comments

Greenwood spent the morning putting aside the evilness of this year’s months-long arson spree and instead focused on the good – community, caring neighbors, and talented individuals donating their time to clean up the neighborhood.

The unveiling of the mural along the safety fence in front of what used to be the Eleanor Roosevelt Building – housing Pho Tic Tac, Szechuan Bistro, C.C. Teriyaki and Green Bean Coffeehouse, and which was destroyed in the Oct. 23 arson – brought out a couple hundred people to the sidewalk by Taproot Theatre.

Greenwood Chamber of Commerce President Steve Giliberto summed up the experience this way.

“To be on the site of darkness and have a light shine over it,” Giliberto said. “It’s not only a testament to our neighborhood, but a testament to the human spirit. Evil happens, but good can always get the last word. It’s a great ending to a tough year.”

I spoke with two of the mural artists – John Osgood and Kevin “Sensei23” Sullivan – as they stood across the street in the Gorditos parking lot. They installed the mural in panels yesterday, then quickly covered it up with black plastic for the official unveiling. Osgood says the muralists worked in the empty space beneath Bartell Drugs for the last month or so, creating the mural in sections. There wasn’t space to lay it all out down there, so they saw it all for the first time during the installation.

“When we were like halfway through, I got goose bumps,” Osgood said. “Once I started seeing it go up, I was like, oh my god.”

The mural features the drama masks symbolizing Taproot Theatre (which owned the Eleanor Roosevelt Building), a firefighter rescuing a PAWS Cat City kitty during the arson, muscle cars from the annual Greenwood Car Show, a huge phoenix rising out of the flames, the name Greenwood, and images promoting the monthly Greenwood-Phinney Art Walk. Sitting on top of the Greenwood name and on top of a tree are two owls. Sullivan told me the owls symbolize watching over the neighborhood.

Taproot Theatre Artistic Producing Director Scott Nolte told me that Taproot had the initial idea to do something with the site, then a number of other people ran with the idea. While Taproot provided money for materials, the muralists donated all their time.

“It was a labor of love on their part,” Nolte said.

The crew of Station 21 was there (although not all are actually stationed there, but some were filling in because of the holidays).

And plenty of people watched from across the street, so they could see the whole mural at once.

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  1. Whopper says:

    It’ll be tagged by tomorrow….welcome to Green’hood.

  2. Matt says:

    Some of the posters here make me wish for an “ignore” feature.

    The mural looks cool; thanks for the pictures.

  3. Iron City Mike says:

    Hey, it was tagged last week before it even went up – there was graffiti on the bare wood

  4. jm says:

    It looks good and the Gorditos customers will enjoy the view from across 85th St.

  5. GreenwoodGal says:

    The blank wall was up for weeks before it was tagged.

    If you are really concerned about graffiti, report it so it can be cleaned up.


    @jm… good call. Makes me wanna run over to G’s and get some extra spicy quesadillas and enjoy the new mural.

  6. Hinto says:

    This is absolutely awesome!! A marvel and credit to our community.

  7. D. Sanchez says:

    Why did the firefighter have to be white?

  8. Stupid Hippie says:

    “Why did the firefighter have to be white?”

    Outrageous, I agree. Clearly a racist mural.

    As a person who knows what it’s like to a person of color, I’m amazed that here on the north side of Seattle, they’d paint only a white fireman! Not just white, mind you, but male too, plus with a Yosemite Sam moustache!

    All of which begs the questions: what have old, white, male-gendered, rednecks ever done for us?

  9. Iron City Mike says:

    Why does the chick at the car show have to be Blue?

  10. L says:

    I believe he is orange. Good grief.

  11. Stupid Hippie says:

    “Why does the chick at the car show have to be Blue?”

    Why not? The Na’vi have every right to be represented as well. It’s old white men who ruined that planet too!

  12. Tahomajim says:

    Very creative and colorful mural. We’re lucky.

  13. eric says:

    ‘Evil happens…”

    wow…know anything about the fire starter?

    Evil? really? you, bush and obama should take a psych course, or two.

  14. Stupid Hippie says:

    I agree Eric, how can we judge him? Who are we to judge? It’s not he killed anyone.

  15. heh says:

    lol @ all of the above …

    Anyone up for a new gum wall??

  16. JK says:

    Isn’t the fireman a pretty accurate representation of the chief in that firehouse? white hair, mustache?

  17. Whopper says:

    “I believe he is orange”

    LA Tan?

  18. Gwoodgirl says:

    I love it! What a fun piece of art to have in our hood. Viva G’wood!

  19. Trix says:

    It’s a nice mural. Let’s not read too much into it.

    Happy new year.

  20. Travitron says:

    This looks awesome! I’m unfortunately aware that it is not an issue of IF this will get tagged, but WHEN. I sincerely hope that the organizers were aware of this and have arranged for video footage on the mural from somewhere… Gorditos, etc. Let’s catch the assholes that do the tagging and then publicly humiliate them and punish them to the max. Make them remove graffiti amd repaint the entire neighborhood. They deserve nothing but punishment. This is a perfect chance to catch them in the act.

  21. Stupid Hippie says:

    “then publicly humiliate them and punish them to the max.”

    Oh no, that wouldn’t be compassionate. We need to get them into an arts program so we can better understand their talents.

  22. saturnexpress says:

    It’s okay. What I thought as I passed by it was that if it does get tagged, it won’t easily be noticed because of the large swoops of color, and the number / tone of the colors. Having appreciated the murals in San Francisco kind of spoils me for this piece. Guess I have to adjust my standards. But all in all, it’s okay.

  23. DFH says:

    There are, I believe, clear anti graffiti coatings that can be painted over the mural to protect it. I hope that’s been done, or will be done soon.

    I love the mural’s brightness and upbeat feeling. BTW, my daughter’s a firefighter and doesn’t take offense at the orange, white haired and mustached firefighter. It fits in with the entire mural.