13th Street Alley

The 13th Street Alley decorated for the Chinese New Year.

One of Astoria’s only alleys is on track for a makeover.

The City Council authorized City Manager Brett Estes to award a $3,000 Oregon Heritage Commission grant to the Astoria Downtown Historic District Association on Monday. The money helps fully fund a project to install murals and permanent light fixtures in the 13th Street Alley, which runs between Duane Street and Commercial Street.

The alley has been problematic in the past. In recent years, neighboring business owners reported they have frequently had to clean up human waste, activity they blamed on a group of homeless people who had been sleeping nearby. Last summer, vandals hit the alley, scrawling a racial slur and sexually explicit messages on the walls.

Now, the downtown association plans to commission a muralist to create custom artwork for a portion of the alley walls. The walls will also be covered with a graffiti-resistant finish.

The downtown association plans to send out a request for proposals and qualifications for interested artists this winter.

A jury will choose three to five finalists to provide more detailed information on the projects they are proposing. All the drawings and materials will go through a public comment process during a Second Saturday Art Walk.

After the jury choses a final artist and mural design, the downtown association will go to the city for permitting approval, said Sarah Lu Heath, the executive director for the downtown association.

The lighting part of the project will consist of cafe lights and LED bulbs. Bogh Electric has agreed to donate time to create electrical hookups for the lights.

With the grant from the Oregon Heritage Commission, the downtown association has nearly $11,000 to spend on the beautification work.

Katie Frankowicz is a reporter for The Daily Astorian. Contact her at 971-704-1723 or kfrankowicz@dailyastorian.com.

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