Women's Shelter Mural

Women's Shelter Mural

In May of 2016, Multnomah County and Human Solutions set out to open a women’s shelter in east Multnomah County to lodge the rising number of houseless women. A temporary shelter was about to close, thus an abbreviated design and construction schedule was necessary to transition residents of the temporary shelter seamlessly into the new.

In just 8 weeks, Holst completed the design and permitting for The Gresham Women's Shelter, a renovation of a 1969 single-story office building on East Burnside Street in Gresham, Oregon. The scope of the renovations included space for 90 beds, accessibility upgrades, four new showers, a new warming kitchen, renovated restrooms, new laundry facilities, and new and repaired interior finishes throughout. The extent of the interior renovations left no room in the budget to update the drab exterior. The building needed a more positive presence for its neighbors and daily commuters alike, given the site’s adjacency to a bustling MAX Light Rail station and high-traffic intersection, thus the idea of a mural came about.

A small project team set out with three parameters for the mural – it had to be simple enough to execute by a group of volunteers, it had to be eye-catching, and it had to wrap around the three prominent facades. Numerous configurations and roughly a half dozen color schemes were explored and presented to the managing non-profit, Human Solutions, and to the owners, Multnomah County.



The project of the mural is to offer something beautiful back to the community and its inhabitants. It is intended to give the building the sense of dignity that it previously lacked from the outside, and to shed light on the crisis the humble building is tackling within.

Miller Paint graciously donated the mural paints to execute the job. 


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