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New "Welcoming" Mural Unveiled Near Oregon District Mass Shooting Site

The Oregon District Gateway Mural
Jerry Kenney
The Oregon District Gateway Mural

Visitors entering Dayton’s Oregon District near Smokin Bar-B-Que and The Neon movie theatre will now be greeted by a roughly 3,000-square-foot mural. 

The giant art piece is the work of Dayton artist Tiffany Clark, and while it was planned before the Aug. 4 mass shooting, its completion two months after the massacre holds special meaning for some residents and business owners in the neighborhood.

Oregon District Business Association Treasurer Natalie Skilliter owns the Corner Kitchen restaurant, located on the district’s eastern end. She says the new mural received a lot of attention as it was being created.

“People, I think, are so thrilled by it," she says. "It's just really welcoming, it provides a sense of place and I hope people will kind of slow down and say 'wow, what's that?' and explore the Oregon District a little bit.

Skilliter says the mural, first proposed by Tony Kroeger, planning division manager for the city of Dayton, is an extension of the lighting and mural project completed at Transportation Center Garage.

Skilliter says the new Oregon District mural reflects the solidarity expressed by many local residents, business owners and their patrons following the tragedy.

“What Dave Chappelle did for us with Gem City Shine and the whole idea of kind of taking back the street and reclaiming it, I feel like this mural contributes to that sentiment a little bit. So, it unites us," she says. "It makes us feel like the street is ours and nobody can take that away from us ever."  

The piece was a collaborative effort between the city, the Oregon District Business Association and the Key Ads company.

Still to be completed is a large digital installation to go above the Oregon District gateway. Key Ads officials say that installation should be finished within the week.

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Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.