Where We Live: The man behind the iconic posters of Portland


"He loved living here... He loved connecting people with art,"

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland recently lost a star in the local arts community. Errol “Mike” Beard was responsible for some of the most iconic posters ever produced in the city. In honor of his legacy, we revisited some of those images and spoke with his family.

An undated photo of Errol “Mike” Beard (Courtesy)

From the memorable posters promoting “The Bite of Portland,” to the iconic “Mount Hood Festival of Jazz” collectibles of the mid-80s, to former Mayor “Bud” Clark’s “Expose Yourself to Art” — Vancouver, Washington native Beard was the art director for all of those projects, and many more.

“He felt like art and architecture was a way to sort of time travel and connect people from different times and generations, and that it lasts forever, and it’s like a moment in time,” explained his daughter Nicole Beard.

Beard’s company, ErrolGraphics, helped bring Portland’s events and landmarks to artistic life.

“I think he’d like that to have been his legacy—that people remember the pieces that he did,” said Wendy Beard, his ex-wife.

Among Beard’s most famous works were his drawings of Portland’s bridges, complete with facts about each span. The “Bridges of Portland” were so popular that they showed up in text books and movies. Other cities came calling for similar renderings, including London, New York and Chicago. Beard also helped light up Portland bridges as a founding member of the Willamette Light Brigade.

“He loved living here. He loved the outdoors. He loved connecting people with art,” said Wendy.

Over Beard’s long career, he was the go-to guy for art and event posters, carrying on a family tradition that included “Beard’s Frame Shops.”

Beard died of respiratory issues at the age of 70.

“He’ll be very missed,” said Nicole.

His family is taking over ErrolGraphics, so you can still buy most of his prints.

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