The Pullman City Council voted 5-2 Tuesday to create a subcommittee to clarify the objectives for a mural that promotes racial equality in the city.
This action came after much discussion about the future of the proposed “End Racism Now” mural that was intended to be painted on a Spring Street wall.
The Pullman Arts Commission is in charge of the project, which was first proposed by members of a local Black Lives Matter group in July. The commission asked for public feedback on several artist submissions on Facebook and on the arts commission’s website.
Since then, three commissioners have resigned from the Pullman Arts Commission and two artists have withdrawn their submissions from consideration.
According to city councilors, problems stemmed from confusion about the selection process, the objective of the mural and the controversy this project has stirred up online.
Councilor Dan Records said he was disappointed in the comments online, many of which came from people outside Pullman.
“That’s been one of my frustrations with the process that the mural has gone through is that most of this has played out online with lots of voices going back and forth but not necessarily a lot of constructive conversation happening,” Records said.
Several councilors, including Records, admitted the City Council did not give clear directions for the mural’s message and the selection process.
Councilor Ann Parks said this led to a process initiated by the arts commission that “quickly got out of control and it really caused a lot of confusion.”
“And because of the issue that is surrounding this it then has caused a lot of divisiveness,” she said.
The council voted to create a subcommittee with councilors Records, Pat Wright and Eileen Macoll to “clarify the objectives for a mural that promotes harmony, unity and awareness of racial inequality in the community.”
This subcommittee would bring these objectives to the council for approval and then pass them along to the Pullman Arts Commission to restart the process of selecting a mural submission.
Records and Councilor Brandon Chapman voted “no” on the subcommittee. They both said they were in favor of moving forward with selecting an already submitted mural idea that includes the words “Black Lives Matter.”
Though Records voted no, he is still willing to serve on the subcommittee.
Councilor Al Sorensen is in favor of restarting the mural process, but during his comments he posed a question.
“When it comes down to it, does any life matter more than another?” he said.
Also on Tuesday, the City Council voted in favor of rezoning nearly 2 acres southwest of the intersection of Albion Drive and State Route 27 from residential to commercial
They later voted in favor of a $414,664 bid from Motley-Motley Inc. to replace sewer from NW State Street eastward toward Ritchie Street, and from Farr Cemetery northward to West Main Street.
Anthony Kuipers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.