While TriMet rejected efforts to name its new transit bridge after him, the late Portland street musician "Working" Kirk Reeves is finally being honored two years after his death, by way of a mural sponsored by the Regional Arts and Culture Council.
The 10-by-30 foot portrait will be located on at the corner of Northeast Grand Avenue and Lloyd Boulevard, on the east-facing wall of the building formerly occupied by Rich's Deli. It will be painted by the artist Gwenn Seemel, who previously painted Reeves in 2007.
According to RACC, the mural will portray Reeves in his signature white tuxedo, black sweater and red sequined hat, with the score for "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"—a staple of his performance repertoire—in the background. The mural is scheduled to be completed in two weeks.
"Even when he was homeless, he was always dressed to the nines—white tuxedo with tail, sparkly black sweater, Mickey Mouse hat," Seemel wrote on her blog after Reeves' death two years ago. "Portland just doesn’t seem as weird or as fabulous without him."
Reeves, a local cultural icon known for playing trumpet near the eastbound onramp of the Hawthorne Bridge, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 2012. Earlier this year, TrIMet denied a campaign to name the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge (now Tilikum Crossing) in his honor, despite his being the most popular suggestion in a public poll.