PORTLAND, Ore. — When Michael Parsons discovered that someone had smashed one of the windows of his Portland art gallery, it broke his heart.

"This was a real negative, terrible thing," he said. "I was really upset about it."

On July 28, one of the double-pane security windows at the Michael Parsons Art Gallery was broken, along with several others at other locations. Portland police haven't confirmed if the cases are connected.

Parsons said he was determined to brush the negativity aside.

"I thought it would just be a positive spin on something really awful," said Parsons, referring to the mural that local artist Alex Lilly was working on Saturday afternoon.

Parsons asked Lilly if he would paint a mural on the plain piece of plywood.

"Where there’s destruction there can be artwork, too," Lilly said as he worked, hands speckled with paint. "I’m reworking the negative space, in the painting and in this place."

The mural itself depicts the Notre Dame cathedral fire from April 15, which Lilly said was inspired by the destruction of the gallery's window.

Between his brush strokes, Lilly wants passersby to look and consider that sometimes what matters actually is on the outside.

"Now there's something positive here," he said.