Max Denning

Cove native and Enterprise resident Hannah Hulse was tagged by her father in a Facebook post by Union County commissioner Donna Beverage seeking an artist to paint a mural in the Union County Courthouse.

“I thought, I could probably do that,”Hulse, 22, said.

The mural is part of a project by the Union County Commissioners and Union County District Attorney’s Office to create a youth room where children can go during court proceedings.

“We wanted to create a safe place for kids,” Beverage said.

The room will accommodate children of all ages and Beverage hopes it will be more comfortable than a standard courthouse room. It will include furniture, stuffed animals, toys, coloring books and DVDs. The room will be pulled together by the finished mural of Mt. Emily and a number of other images representing Union County.

“There’s a little taste of everything,” Hulse said. “Growing up in the valley, it’s easy to know what represents the area.”

The idea for the room was sparked by Beverage reading a county magazine more than six months ago about creating a youth room in local courthouses to help calm children, who are often intimidated by courtrooms. Beverage said she took the idea to Union County DA Kelsie McDaniel who told her there was a grant available from the DA’s office for a project like this. Beverage posted on Facebook looking for someone to paint the mural, and Hulse, who recently graduated from Pacific University in Forest Grove, volunteered. Beverage said a number of courthouse employees have contributed.

“Everybody that I’ve talked to has been pitching in,” Beverage said.

Hulse began her painting of the mural on Dec. 17 and hopes to be finished by Friday. While Hulse has been doing all of the painting for the mural herself, some of the design ideas were contributed by children in the Union County Juvenile Department. In addition to Mt. Emily, the mural includes paintings of farms, a plane, silos, hot air balloons and an eagle.

“It’s just a cool opportunity to bring those ideas to life in a painting,” Hulse said. “It’s cool to have an impact on the community since I don’t live here anymore.”

Hulse compared the impact this mural might have to the substitute teaching she does in Enterprise in the winter. Hulse is a wildland firefighter during fire season.

After more than six months of planning and organizing resources for the youth room, Beverage said she is excited to see it be used.

“It’s kind of a safe place across from the courtroom,” she said. “We don’t want it to have the same atmosphere (as a courtroom).”

Having rooms for children to wait in while their parents are involved in a legal case in the courtroom is a mandate in a number of states, including California. Many states also have mandatory daycare laws in the courthouse.

While the youth room mainly is designed for children whose parents are involved in a court case, Beverage also said the room could be used by lawyers meet with youth clients. Overall they just want children to not be too worried about coming to the courthouse.

“We want to take their mind off why they might be at the courtroom,” Beverage said.