Crews using ‘selective demolition’ to save Salem mosaic

Marion County

The community artwork will find a new home in Riverfront Park

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Demolition is underway at the downtown Salem Family YMCA, but a beloved piece of art will be saved from the excavators.

The 60-foot mosaic is titled “River of Peace” and has adorned the front wall of the Salem Family YMCA since 2011, according to the group that rallied to save the artwork.

More than 600 kids and adults from all over the Salem area created the mosaic under the leadership of artist Lynn Takata, according to Save the Salem Peace Mosaic.

But the Salem YMCA on Court Street is being demolished to make way for a new YMCA facility. So, the non-profit says it got funding to move the mosaic to a new location: An art studio called “The Stables” that will be built next to Salem’s Riverfront Carousel.

Demolition was well underway on the Salem Family YMCA on December 17, 2019 (Hannah Ray Lambert).

Saving the artwork from damage has been a big task. A structural engineer helped develop plans for the subcontractor to cut the mosaic into large sections and cover it with plywood. Later this week, they will also make cuts in the wall above the art to allow for “selective demolition.”

Crews are scheduled to fully remove the mosaic and take it to a storage facility in early January, where it will stay until its new home is built.

Funding to save the mosaic came from the Oregon Legislature, the City of Salem, community foundations, and numerous individuals.

Meanwhile, the Salem Family YMCA is open at 544 Ferry Street during construction.

The “River of Peace” mosaic on the old YMCA building is scheduled to be taken off and moved into storage in January (Save the Salem Peace Mosaic)

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