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Gordon’s Fireplace Shop: Questions

Eyesore or art? Landmark or blight? Photographer K.B. Dixon gets up close with the paintings and graffiti scrawls on an abandoned building that Portland's City Council has voted to foreclose on.

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Photo by K.B. Dixon of exterior of abandoned Gordon's Fireplace Shop building, covered with graffiti.
Gordon’s, 2024.

Text and Photographs by K.B. DIXON


Gordon’s Fireplace Shop, a three-story building on Northeast 33rd Avenue and Broadway in Portland, sits abandoned and covered in graffiti. On Wednesday, June 12, the Portland City Council voted unanimously to foreclose on it and three other derelict buildings. For the short term, it remains in place. Is it an eyesore or an art installation? A landmark or example of urban blight? An attraction or a scourge? The product of vandals or a contemporary version of the Lascaux cave paintings? A sign that Kilroy was here or that hope wasn’t? Social commentary or psychic howl? A preservation site or a demolition site? Antoni Gaudi’s Spanish church or a glue-sniffers’ middle finger to the middle class? Here are a few recent images:

Photo by K.B. Dixon of exterior of abandoned Gordon's Fireplace Shop building, covered with graffiti.
So, 2024.
Photo by K.B. Dixon of exterior of abandoned Gordon's Fireplace Shop building, covered with graffiti.
W, 2024.
Photo by K.B. Dixon of exterior of abandoned Gordon's Fireplace Shop building, covered with graffiti.
Untitled, 2024.
Closeup photo by K.B. Dixon of interior of abandoned Gordon's Fireplace Shop building, covered with graffiti.
1980, 2024.
Closeup photo by K.B. Dixon of interior of abandoned Gordon's Fireplace Shop building, covered with graffiti.
No Trespassing, 2024.
Closeup photo by K.B. Dixon of interior of abandoned Gordon's Fireplace Shop building, covered with graffiti.
1980 #2, 2024.
Closeup photo by K.B. Dixon of interior of abandoned Gordon's Fireplace Shop building, covered with graffiti cartoon image of train engine and car.
Car, 2024.
Closeup photo by K.B. Dixon of wall at abandoned Gordon's Fireplace Shop building, covered with graffiti, including the word "Baby."
Baby, 2024.
Closeup photo by K.B. Dixon of interior of abandoned Gordon's Fireplace Shop building, covered with graffiti surround a utility meter.
Meter, 2024.
Closeup photo by K.B. Dixon of interior of abandoned Gordon's Fireplace Shop building, covered with graffiti around a "No Tresspassing" sign.
Snakes, 2024.
Closeup photo by K.B. Dixon of interior wall of abandoned Gordon's Fireplace Shop building, covered with graffiti.
Untitled #2, 2024.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

K.B. Dixon’s work has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, and journals. His most recent collection of stories, Artifacts: Irregular Stories (Small, Medium, and Large), was published in Summer 2022. The recipient of an OAC Individual Artist Fellowship Award, he is the winner of both the Next Generation Indie Book Award and the Eric Hoffer Book Award. He is the author of seven novels: The Sum of His SyndromesAndrew (A to Z)A Painter’s LifeThe Ingram InterviewThe Photo AlbumNovel Ideas, and Notes as well as the essay collection Too True, Essays on Photography, and the short story collection, My Desk and I. Examples of his photographic work may be found in private collections, juried exhibitions, online galleries, and at K.B. Dixon Images.

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