Leroy Sly Scott, who passed away two years ago in May, now lives forever as part of our neighborhood. You may have known Leroy as a charismatic fellow who told a joke or sang a song from his stoop behind the Belmont Market. For years Leroy would sleep on (or nearby) his daytime throne on 34th Street before he got housing for what turned out to be his final year on Earth after 34 years of living outside. This stoop continues to be a place of gathering of all sorts of neighbors in Sunnyside. Now as you sip your coffee from Stumptown or walk your dog down to the playground, there is an image of Leroy there to greet you and to remind you that “All around the world, people are singing the same song.” (A shortened version of this was Leroy’s favorite expression, inspired by the Digital Underground song.)
The Portland Street Art Alliance and a group of local artists and community members came together last December to create a mural to honor Leroy. Thanks to artists Kyra Watkins, Caleb Ruecker, Sarah Farahat and Tammy MacKinnon who together designed and painted the mural, and to Tony Booone, a community member and Street Roots vendor who helped out.
In the coming months visages of some of Leroy’s friends and community will be painted above the Tao of Tea and “The Leroy Blocks” will be complete. If you would like to contribute to this entirely community-generated and community-supported art, please do so here: https://leroymural.causevox.com. A big thank you to the Portland Street Art Alliance for their dedication, care, and skill in beautifying our neighborhood with the history of its neighbors.