The mural adorning the Montavilla Farmers Market has changed—possibly in violation of federal law.

It still depicts a woman, and a variety of growing things. Except it's a different depiction, by a different artist.

The mural was painted last October and damaged by a city vehicle in January. Rather than repair the damage to the original, the property owner buffed it and hired a different artist to paint a new one.

Dey Rivers
Dey Rivers

The original muralists—who go by the names GirlMobb, SaraEileen, and N.O. Bonzo—say they're saddened. "[This] willful destruction [was] a sole individual acting without consent or input from the community where it existed and with which it was created," they said in a joint statement July 16.

The artists are protected in Portland city code and may be covered by a 1990 federal law called the Visual Artists Rights Act, which protects murals from being altered or destroyed—even by property owners (see "Up Against The Wall," WW, July 20, 2016). Kohel Haver, a Portland copyright lawyer, says the building owner might have broken that law.

"It's the same kind of violation as tagging, in that it's a destruction of public property," Haver says. "It is their building, but visually it is our space."

Property manager Adam Stein says he obtained permission from the city for "maintenance and repair." (A city regulator says that's a broad interpretation of the word "repair".) The owner's family trust issued a statement, saying they "are as proud of the new mural as we were the original… we deeply regret that some have been hurt by this necessary action."

This story originally misidentified one of the artists of the first mural. Her name is SaraEileen, not filthcakes. WW regrets the error.