By Joel Dippold | CNA Media Team
Walk out the front door of McMenamins Kennedy School and, in a few blocks, you’ll come to the intersection of 28th Avenue and Jarrett Street. All around you are the tall firs and Tudor bungalows so common here.
But you probably won’t notice them. You’ll be staring at the ground, at a circular mandala with pine trunks pointing to the four corners of the globe. The painting is known to neighbors as Jarrett Grove.
This Flower of Life design – 19 overlapping circles bounded by a larger circle – has captivated humanity for centuries. The earliest examples are found in an Egyptian temple and Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook. Ten smaller circles form a “Tree of Life,” from the Jewish mystic tradition of the Kabbalah.
But most passersby don’t know anything about this symbolism, any more than they know what this round plaza means to the families who live in its orbit.
“We have a stronger bond because of this,” said Joe Culhane, who helped with the installation two years ago and the repainting in August. “This is a way to get together, and to work, and to produce an awesome result.”
The work component was considerable. “It was a long day, getting all that paint down,” said Katie Allen. The work was done by a volunteer army of four dozen neighbors, Village Building Convergence volunteers, and people who were out walking their dogs and just jumped in.
Katie led the fundraising effort that resulted in $1,000 to rent barricades and buy many, many gallons of special traffic paint. She and other neighbors got donations from a dozen local businesses for a silent auction at Wilder Bar Café, and kids set up a stand and charged for nail painting and temporary tattoos.
“The best part of it was later that night,” Katie said, after the paint had dried and the sun had gone down. “There were about 20 of us, all ages, and we just had the best dance party ever.”
Editor’s note: Joel had more to tell about this community building effort and a time-lapse photograph of the effort. For the rest of the story, visit ConcordiaPDX.org/jarrett-grove.