Pilot Rock’s latest edition changes a giant drape wall into colorful history. Jacob Albitre of Portland and his older brother Joe Albitre of Pendleton are painting a mural that depicts Pilot Rock’s history from the time of the Umatilla tribes to the modern era.

Mayor Virginia Carnes called the mural “just awesome.”

Jacob Albitre, 24, said he initially got involved in the project a few years ago as a way to work off community service hours after he had a run in with Pendleton police over graffiti. He said he painted other murals, including the one at Brownfield Park in downtown Pendleton, but when the Pilot Rock undertaking fell through he moved to Portland and became a tattoo artist. Joe Albitre, 28, said the plan got back on track when the mayor recently asked him if his brother still had interest in the mural. A few texts messages later, the brothers threw their collective artistic ability together for the project.

A $2,000 community improvement grant from Pacific Power is paying for the work, Carnes said.

The brothers have outlined much of the mural on the large gray wall near the community garden on West Main Street. That wall became visible after a fire destroyed the building there in 2009.

When finished, the mural will depict historical aspects of Pilot Rock, including teepees in the lower left corner and the city as it was in 1902 along the bottom. Eight large circles will look like saw blades, signifying the city’s lumber mill history, and inside each will be a different scene, including the Presbyterian church that burned down in 2007 and the profile of Dr. Richard Cook, a major benefactor to the city who died a few years ago. The mural also will have Pilot Rock’s new city flag.

The Albitres have painted an intense red between the giant saw blades, and Sunday were working on a sky blue for scenes inside the blades. Joe Albitre said he would like to get at least one complete scene finished by Sunday.

The brothers said they would like to complete the mural by Saturday, Aug. 18, in time for Pilot Rock’s Community Days celebration. But they were uncertain about making that date and said Carnes hasn’t given them a firm deadline. They said they would get as far as they can this and next weekend, and return to finish the project until it’s complete.


Contact Phil Wright at pwright@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0833.

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