SWEET HOME, Ore. — A weeks-long effort to paint buildings in town to make the area more inviting to visitors kicked off on Friday.
The “Paint the Town” project is slated to paint dozens of buildings in Sweet Home through September, using support from volunteers and local businesses.
“We want our town to represent the beauty of our natural amenities and the beauty of our community,” said City Manager Kelcey Young. “So, we’re doing what we can to uplift our downtown and hopefully bring more people in.”
Sweet Home Mayor Susan Coleman said some type of improvements to area buildings have been on the minds of the community for a while.
“The community–all of us have noticed we have a lot of empty buildings in Sweet Home that are a little bit run down,” Coleman said. “We wanted to figure out exactly what could we do to help those buildings look better and more inviting to visitors driving through — but also uplift the community.”
They started with the old city hall building on 12th Avenue and the Osaka Sushi restaurant on Main Street. Over 40 buildings are slated to be painted, with more expected to be added to the list soon. Organizers said they are impressed by the community coming together to help out, especially local businesses.
“We could not do this without Miller Paint or Fitzpatrick Painting company,” Young said. “They have been incredible and very generous.”
The support is crucial to the project, she said. Miller Paint will be providing all the paint used for the town-beautification initiative.
“It really lines up with our company values to really help small communities out,” said Tyler Gordon, sales representative with the paint company.
While they make donations all the time, Gordon said he has never seen something of this nature and size. Being manufactured in Oregon and distributed throughout the Pacific Northwest, helping out just made sense.
“We’re a local company and so it really–we want to continue helping local communities out because we are part of the community too,” he said.
Fitzpatrick Painting and Construction is slated to provide hours of professional painting labor to the project.
Local businesses are not only helping out, but they are also being helped out. Osaka Sushi along Main Street jumped at the opportunity to get a fresh coat of paint, Manager Alice Lee said. The new look, an ocean blue that fits the sushi theme, she said, is like a breath of fresh air.
“We want to bring more business, and let the building be prettier and nicer,” Lee said.
She said the initiative is a big deal as the community hopes to show off a cleaner, more welcoming feel.
“I think it’s so–this painting job is so significant, it lets the whole community become nicer,” Lee said.
Of course, volunteers are the backbone of project.
“It’s been incredible to see the type of community spirit and volunteerism for this project and other projects in Sweet Home,” Young said.
By and for the community, dozens of volunteers showed up to help the town put its best foot forward for visitors. 80 volunteers have signed up to help over the next few weeks, with the city offering prizes to those who paint the most square footage and work the most hours.
“It’s always important to volunteer because that’s the biggest thing we can do and if we want to make the world a better place, it starts with ourselves and our communities and coming together and making it happen in your town.,” said Sweet Home resident Clint Gregg.
The Sweet Home community is coming together to make the project happen, but they are also getting help from people from out of town. Young people with the Youth Volunteer Corps of Corvallis made the trip to town to help with the first day of painting.
“We’re just trying to make a difference around our area and the Willamette Valley,” said member Moses Muir. “So like painting here this old city hall just helps bring other towns nearby and near us to life–makes it better.”
The group said they volunteer all over the region, recognizing the value of getting out and helping out.
“We came out to help,” said member Anna Braun. “I just moved to Corvallis, I moved from far away and I just figured this would be a great way to get introduced to the different communities here. And I’ve met a lot of great people and I’m just really grateful that I get to help.”
Young said they are hoping to make a significant amount of progress by the time their annual jamboree happens in August to leave a good impression on people visiting for the event. When the building painting project is all done come fall, local artists will work on painting murals on the sides of buildings downtown. The paint for that, she said, will also be provided by Miller Paint.
Ultimately, the “Paint the Town” project is a testament to the community. Both Young and Coleman, who have lived in other communities across the country, said Sweet Home is the best by far.
“It’s the best community that I’ve ever lived in,” Coleman said. The community feel, how people care about one another—when there’s a problem, we step up and help each other. So, doing this is just another way that we can show how wonderful Sweet Home is.”