Po Dog embroiled in mural controversy

Po Dog, the new hotdog vendor coming to the hill, recently blogged about its troubles trying it install a mural on the southern blank facade of 1009 Union Street – adjacent to a parking lot.  Laura Olson sent CHS email explaining the issue:


We had a design drawn up from John Osgood and had to ask the owners of the parking lot behind us to use a few of the parking space for a couple of days to clean the wall and get the mural started. They in turn, wanted to see the mural and made the decision that we would not be allowed to use their lot for cleaning and painting because  “they felt the depiction of a man eating a hot dog would carry an unwanted double meaning” and did not approve of the “cartoonish” nature of the mural. The property owners also commented that our mural “does not meet the needs of the Capitol Hill neighborhood” and may decrease their property value.

Chris Pardo of Pb Elemental (Po Dog’s architect) says the objections of Po Dog’s landlord and the parking lot owner are surprising:


He [the parking lot owner] owns the Lifelong Aids building (next door) which has a full mural (100% coverage), that also has bright colors and “cartoons figures” [photo below]. Other buildings just down the street also have new abstract murals (Monique lofts for example), these murals serve to fight graffiti (we commissioned John on one of our designs in the central district because the concrete wall was constantly tagged, since then it has never been tagged), advertise a business (like the beautiful painted on billboard now partially covered on the Trace Lofts) an provide additional visual interest and landmarks to a diverse community. Not everyone will like every design, but it is art after all and that is it’s nature. If it promotes discussion it is a success.

CHS will try to get the other side of this story from the landlord. Details to come.

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16 thoughts on “Po Dog embroiled in mural controversy

  1. Yeah that’s an ugly mural, I’m glad they rejected it. You can’t compare it to the other mural pictured in your article – while I don’t prefer the other one either, you can hardly put the two at the same level of cartoonishness. As is, the po dogs one is just a big ugly ad.

  2. I agree–I think the second one is more “whimsical” and child-like, as opposed to cartoonish. While I think the ‘double meaning’ reason is stupid (and it’s Cap Hill for crying out loud, THE place to have that double meaning), the hot dog mural looks ridiculous and I’m glad the property owner rejected it.

  3. The property owner next door rejected letting Po Dog use their parking lot to access the wall to paint it.

    I think the mural would be fine. I hope Po Dog finds a creative way to access the all and get it painted.

  4. Better check downtown too. It is my understanding that if the city receives a complaint after the mural is painted and it is not allowed as part of the sign code, it comes down fast…… I’m just saying!

  5. i see nothing wrong with the mural and it’s better than having a bunch of tagger crap scrawled there.

    the parking lot owner won’t let you use the spaces? then rappel from the roof and paint it anyway. or just paint it in the middle of the night when the parking lot’s owner is probably safely tucked in bed.

  6. and that guy is scary. he looks like he’s on meth or something.

    honestly i don’t blame the owner for refusing.

    the other mural from the Lifelong Aids Building is not really similar at all. just because they both use bright colors doesn’t make them the same. the methhead mural is very garish.

    try a better mural – maybe the owner will come around.

  7. I have been following Po Dog on twitter for a while, and I gotta say I’m a big admirer. I wasn’t a fan of the mural when I first saw it, but I’m glad that it’s by a local artist, and I trust it’ll grow on me.

    I can’t believe the parking lot owner has veto power over what mural goes up on that wall…

  8. Since when does a neighbor have veto over the property owner’s choices? If the parking lot owner doesn’t like it, then build something on your wasted urban space so you don’t have this issue. Until then it should be none of his business.

    I agree it’s not a great mural but I, just like all of you, don’t have any say in this. If you want something to please your aesthetics, then find some money and open your own business and paint what you would like on that wall. Until then, perhaps you should butt out. :)