Perfect. Beautiful. True. A sign for our sad times–Mary Full of Life–where hope truly does spring eternal. Here’s the website and the story follows…
An image of a very pregnant Mary, the mother of Jesus, looks down on Old Town from a billboard on West Burnside Street and Northwest Third Avenue. In the weeks before Christmas, she is a reminder of the approaching celebration of her son’s birth.
She’s also a testament to a Milwaukie woman’s deeply held beliefs.
“I’m not political,” says Valerie Aschbacher, who commissioned the sculpture that was photographed for the billboard. “Mary’s not political. She’s an image of the gospel of life.”
Many people would not agree. They see life — when it begins and how it ends — as a political issue. Abortion and physician-assisted suicide continue to be campaign issues for many voters.
So it’s not surprising that Aschbacher’s billboard has sparked a dispute in a time divided by life issues.
The Catholic Sentinel, the official newspaper of the Catholic Church in Oregon, reported recently that developers of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Northeast Portland had crews remove a billboard structure on their property before Aschbacher’s ad, which the Sentinel characterized as an anti-abortion ad, was scheduled to appear on it.
James Adamson, a spokesman for Beech Street Partners, the developer, said the decision had nothing to do with ad content.
“We needed the space” for the construction project, he said.
Brad Parsons, general manager of Clear Channel Outdoor, said one of his crews removed the sign and Aschbacher agreed to look for another location.
“I spent three hours driving around Portland, looking for a site,” she said. “I didn’t find one, but I did notice a beer ad in Old Town.” It didn’t seem right, she said, to advertise beer in a neighborhood where alcohol and drug addiction has damaged so many lives.
When she met with her account executive at Clear Channel, she said she hadn’t found an alternative site. She did, however, complain about the beer ad at West Burnside Street and Northwest Third. Then it dawned on her that the image she named Mary Full of Life belonged on Burnside, in the midst of Old Town.
“Mary gave birth in the lowliest of places,” she says. “Where else would she want to come but to the lowliest place in the state of Oregon…” Read the full story