PORTLAND, Ore. — A Portland nonprofit is helping local graffiti artists find spaces on which to create their work. Some of those "canvases" are the very buildings that vandals illegally tagged.

On Friday, artists assembled by Portland Street Art Alliance continued painting murals on the vacant Sunshine Dairy Building near Northeast 21st Avenue and Sandy Boulevard. More than 50 artists have painted murals on the building since they were commissioned by the property’s new owner, Eastbank Development.

“It allows the community and spectators walking by to be able to approach the artist,” said muralist, Devin Finley, who was painting a cow in honor of the former dairy.

Graffiti murals cover old Sunshine Dairy building

Building owners support the artists’ work with donations to help cover materials. The murals help keep vandals at bay, and the artists get a platform.

“They can test out their ideas they've been wanting to do and have a fun, safe place to do that,” said Portland Street Art Alliance executive director Tiffany Conklin. “They can take their time and make really amazing work happen.”

So far, about 50 artists from all over the West Coast have left their mark on the property. Conklin said plans for the former Sunshine Dairy property include building apartments in its place, meaning the artists’ work will eventually be destroyed. Finley said there will still be plenty of time for passersby to enjoy and appreciate their work.

“Maybe change somebody's feelings about what they think a graffiti artist is,” Finley said.