ONTARIO — One of the components of the new Oregon Mural Trail was officially dedicated Tuesday by local officials and Oregon tourism leaders at a ceremony at the side of Red Apple Market Place, along Southwest Fourth Avenue.

The mural, which depicts horses running in the hills, on the south wall of the grocery store was painted by Portland artist Jesse Hazelip in September as part of a project under the auspices of Travel Oregon and the Oregon Cultural Trust to promote tourism in the state.

Ontario was selected as one of seven cities to get such a mural.

A small crowd gathered for the official ribbon-cutting which was attended by representatives of Travel Oregon, tourism agencies, the Cultural Trust, Ontario City officials and others.

The selected communities around the state, each in a tourism region, have or will have a mural specific to area where is it located.

“The Oregon Mural Trail was developed to inspire Oregonians and visiting explorers to get outside and experience the natural wonder of each destination, as well as to generate a sense of community pride, enhance local economic impact and contribute to local arts and cultural initiatives,” reads a news release about the program.

Alice Trindle, executive director of the Eastern Oregon Visitors Association, said the Oregon Mural Trail is just one of the campaigns that Travel Oregon is working on right now.

One of those is the “Only Slightly Exaggerated” artwork highlighting the fall- and winter-time adventures in Oregon through limited-edition posters.

Trindle said there are ads running on cable channels in Idaho touting the eastern Oregon region.

Also on hand was Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon, who said, “It’s about bringing people to the region.”

Davidson said the economic impacts to the state from tourism amounts to about $11.8 billion, amounting to about 112,000 jobs, with about 600 of them in Malheur County.

All murals have the “Oregon is Magic” logo and other murals are or will be in The Dalles, Prineville, Oakridge, Forest Grove, Roseburg and Yachats.

Also participating in the ceremony were Ontario Mayor Ron Verini, and Four Rivers Cultural Center Executive Director Matt Stringer, who is also on the board of Oregon Cultural Trust.

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Larry Meyer is a reporter for the Argus Observer.

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