Story by:Photo Credit:Greg Lehman

Delia Gutierrez was still hovering on a happiness cloud this morning.

As the Washington Park area Commitment to Community coordinator for Blue Mountain Action Council, Gutierrez was the point person on Sunday’s mural-painting project at the park.

For more than a decade, art work adorned the 400-square-foot wall in the park, a joint endeavor between neighbors and neighborhood organizers in 2007 as an effort to reclaim the park from illegal and unsavory activities.

This summer, vandals ruined the original mural with spray paint, and the city painted over the wall in white. Neighbors, however, advocated for the wall to be a beautiful landmark in their area once again, Gutierrez said.

On Sunday, about 65 volunteers seconded that with several hours of labor, applying donated paint to the wall to create illustrations of a far-reaching tree — with handprint leaves — and children playing sports, an art theme approved last month by Walla Walla City Council.

Gutierrez said she was surprised and gratified by Sunday’s turnout.

“I was not expecting that many people. Usually if you invite 60, 30 show up,” she said.

In the 73-degree weather, happiness seemed to expand as neighbors came together and children played and painted. Xannonce

“They were really getting to know each other, it was a perfect day.”

One benefit to having a large number of kids on hand was giving them all a chance to invest in their park, Gutierrez said.

“They were saying, ‘Oh, look, this is my hand, and this is going to be here forever.


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