Oregon City Orders Removal Of Iwo Jima Mural On Private Business

The city of Salem, Oregon, has ordered the removal of a mural depicting a patriotic display of the flag-raising ceremony at Iwo Jima during World War II from a private business in the area. The company owner has refused to comply, despite the possibility of punishment, and the argument has attracted the attention of the media this week.

Several anonymous complaints concerning the artwork were used by Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett and the City of Salem as justification for demanding its removal in November 2021, according to The National Pulse. Valley Roofing, a privately held company, has the mural painted on the exterior of its building.

The artwork was commissioned by Jon Taylor, the company owner, from a local artist in order to recognize his many friends and family members who have served in the United States military, as well as all Americans who have served and are currently serving in the military.

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An email acquired by American Military News claims that media have “misrepresented” the city’s participation in the matter and have disseminated “false allegations of intent behind these actions.”

Since November 2021, the city said municipal staff has been “working directly with the property owner.” The city also added that elected officials such as Mayor Bennett and City Counselors “do not administer or enforce City Code.”

“We actively work with property owners and businesses to navigate Salem’s rules and regulations, encompassed in the Salem Revised Code pertaining to (Chapter 900) or (2) public art (Chapter 15). In short, sign code is concerned with the size, location, and construction of signage, not what the sign says or how it is portrayed,” the city said in the email. “The public mural code addresses art and follows a public process, through the Salem Public Art Commission with a public hearing, as the work is considered for inclusion in the City’s Public Art Collection.”

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The city said, “This is a beautiful way to honor and recognize this significant moment in our history, and the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families. We appreciate the quality of the work and its meaning for many in our community. The City’s rules for public art murals and signs do not consider the content or the craftsmanship of public art or signage.”

The city said no fines have been imposed and added that city staff are “in continuing dialogue with the property owner.”

They said, “The City of Salem’s laws, encompassed in the Salem Revised Code, represent the values of our community. We remain committed to fair and equal treatment for all individuals and businesses making Salem a great place to live and work.”

A petition to rescue the mural has amassed more than 12,700 signatures as of this writing. According to the petition, the City of Salem is “harassing local businesses” such as Taylor’s, which is only trying to “change our community for the better.”

Want to support a company that honors our military? Support Mount Rushmore Coffee Company! 

Local veterans said Taylor “does a lot for this community both personally and through his business. He is a true credit to our fine city and a shining example of the sort of person we should all want as a neighbor and community leader.”

“Even when we help fights the wars, they don’t want us to be talking about our contribution,” Mario Jr. DeLeon, the artist who created the artwork, said.

Stay tuned to The Scoop for any updates.

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