Beautifying city centers

New murals bring vibrancy to Oroville and Durham; Mediterranean grill set for Chico; plus, Tacos Tijuana reopens

Well-maintained public art adds a vibrancy to a town that not much else can. Of all the cities in the world I’ve been to, one of the brightest that comes to mind is Barcelona, with its prominent, colorful, wonderfully weird art all over the place.

I bring this up because there’s an awesome new mural in downtown Oroville, near the farming equipment in the parking lot downtown at 2167 Montgomery St. The large depiction of an old gold mine is painted in the trompe l’oeil, 3-D style, and it turned an otherwise anytown wall into a cool link to history. (It’s also near the old gold mining equipment store, which adds to the effect.)

The artists behind the gold mine mural are Ted Hanson and Frank Wilson. The former is owner of Brushstrokes Studio and Gallery just a few blocks down Montgomery; the latter owns his own Frank Wilson Fine Art out of Paradise. The project was one of four to receive funding (it cost about $8,500) last year through the city’s Arts Commission. It’s a fine addition to downtown, indeed.

Speaking of street art If you haven’t been to Durham lately, the building when you first get to the four-way stop on Midway (home to the Durham Country Market) has completely transformed. Chico artist Christine Mac Shane started in April with a farm scene on the exterior. It’s since grown and wrapped around the building, lending a joyful pop of color to what used to be a drab corner.

Do-goodery I always like stories of businesses and businesspeople giving back to their communities. Most recently, I got word about a gift from the Rotary Club of Oroville to that city’s branch of the Butte County Library. Apparently, a group of Rotarians toured the facility last summer and noticed that the large clock on the wall was not functioning (and didn’t even have hands), so they decided to fix it. The gift is not only a community service, reads a press release, it’s also a symbol of Rotary’s dedication to literacy. Cool deal!

New life! The corner of Second and Main streets in Chico will soon be a little less empty, with the impending opening of Oya Mediterranean Grill where Pluto’s used to be. I could find out little about the place at first, but after additional digging linked it to Emin Tekin, a real estate agent who, along with his family, has owned several Mediterranean restaurants throughout the Bay Area over the years. I’m guessing that means Cafe Petra, which closed its next door space after a kitchen fire last year, won’t be reopening.

Back to life Fans of Chico’s Tacos Tijuana, which closed its doors at 15th and Park in December 2018, will be happy to hear that the restaurant recently reopened in Oroville. From what I hear, it is still the place to go for pozole, that perfectly comforting winter stew (available on weekends only). Check out the new spot at 1835 Oro Dam Blvd.