Business District sponsors new Powellhurst-Gilbert mural

Have you noticed the new mural on the building near SE Powell Boulevard at 122nd Avenue? Learn all about its local roots …

-1 Muralist Alex Chiu is here turning a visible corner space in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood into a work of art. Image courtesy of Midway Business Association

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Although the project has been in the works for some time, a new stories-high mural finally graces the “flattened-off corner” of the Octapharma Plasma building on the northeast corner of SE 122nd Avenue and Powell Boulevard.

The artwork depicting four local women is amazingly colorful and lifelike. The human faces look nearly photographic – even though they’re primarily painted using spray can paint. It was created by outer East Portland based mural artist Alex Chiu.

Mural artist Alex Chiu chooses his next paint color.

“It’s true, all four women depicted in this mural – entitled ‘Leaders of East Portland’ – work or live here, in this area; these are real, local people,” Chiu assured East Portland News, while changing out paint colors.

The local women depicted in the new mural are:

  • Lisha Strestha – Division Midway Alliance Executive Director
  • Halimo Alinur – African Youth Community Organization Community Engagement Lead
  • Olena Borova – Community Investment Trust – Education and Outreach Coordinator
  • Diana Nuno-Prerez – Local store owner (Relentless Hustle, 2801 SE 122nd Ave.), Hip Hop and Events Organizer


“I was commissioned by the Midway Business Association [MBA], through a grant from Venture Portland, to create a mural design, and then to produce the artwork on this wall,” Chiu explained.

“Life-long artist” Alex Chiu touches up part of the mural.

“The idea is to highlight women leaders in the outer East Portland area. And, the mural isn’t particularly for the business inside this building, although they are sponsoring the site,” remarked Chiu.

High up on the ladder, the muralist uses spray paint to create remarkably-lifelike images on the side of the building.

He was commissioned after the MBA reached out to the Portland Street Art Alliance to find an artist. “I was commissioned because they liked my professional artwork portfolio, built up since 2017. And also, that I’m a resident of outer East Portland and the Midway Business District, perhaps factored into the decision,” Chiu said.

After the mural was completed, the artist told us that he’d applied an anti-graffiti coating to it. “Also, I live in the area – so if anything happens, I’ll be here to clean it up and maintain it,” concluded Chiu as he climbed his ladder and resumed the work.

Artist Alex Chiu peels back a paper frisket to reveal the subjects of his painting.

Learn more about the Midway Business Association by visiting their official website:  CLICK HERE.

And, learn more about muralist Alex Chiu at his website: CLICK HERE.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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