I pass by this mural practically every day. It’s about a block and a half from my place, pretty much right between Chez Galby and my favorite caffeinating and intoxicating holes, which are conveniently located next door to one another. I say “practically” just in case I miss the odd day, but I don’t actually think that happens unless I’m temporarily near death…
This is a mural honoring Steve Prefontaine, a runner for the University of Oregon in the late 60s and early 70s. He’s a native Oregonian – well, was…he was killed in a single car drunk driving accident in 75 – and has had a fanboy grip on me since I learned about him forever ago.
A) because he was an Oregon hero
C) he represented a mystery to me…dying when I was only 7, I never knew of him in real time so my connection to him has always been inexplicable.
Well, minus the hubba-hubba factor.
He never lost a distance race, his entire running career. He’s actually co-credited with starting the running craze, not just here in Oregon, but nationwide. Take that, Jim
Glad I was forcibly retired from running?
Anyway, I wear a winter reminder of this mural, so I find myself thinking of my slight Prefontaine Obsession even when I’m not passing the mural. A couple years back, I was walking back from breakfast at Fullers and saw some nogoodnicks throwing fluorescent green paint on the mural.
Acting before thinking, I ran toward them yelling at them to stop. They ran off like punks, throwing down their paint cans as they left.
Me. Running again!
I got closer than I thought because when I got home I realized some of their paint had splattered on me as their paint cans bounced around. Lucky me, it was my $400 Arcteryx jacket.
I’m not letting a little green paint stop me from wearing that!
Or the fact that I’m a little too puffy to wear a puffy down jacket.
One of my favorite things about this mural, though? The optical illusion.