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If you go through Winthrop and notice a brighter look to the Wild West downtown, you can thank the “Let's Paint Winthrop” campaign.

Our friends at the Methow Valley News report each mural and sign is being repainted, and the original freshness of the downtown corridor is being revealed.

Last winter, Nilsine Harris pulled together a committee to raise funds for and manage operations of the “Let’s Paint Winthrop” campaign. She selected Carol Lester, a longtime Winthrop resident who, along with her husband John, was a business owner when Winthrop first underwent Westernization in the early 1970s.

Lester says it’s important that business owners carry forward the legacy of Westernization, saying the local economy was in sharp decline and Westernization gave it a boost.

So far, the all-volunteer crew has tackled the well-known mural on the side of Three Fingered Jack’s Saloon, featuring man and beast bonding over healing ointment, and a tiny mural on the side of Meza, which hawks Lydia Pinkham’s vegetable compound as a cure for various female weaknesses. They’ve also completed the cash machine mural on the side of the Tenderfoot, as well as various small signs.

Time for painting is limited to a couple of early morning hours each day, partly because of the heat and partly as a courtesy to visitors. Also, some of the volunteer painters are business owners who need to open up their shops.

There’s also prep work to be completed on many of the buildings, some of which require pressure washing to remove dust and soot. One black building near the four-way intersection emerged brown after its hosing-down.

Lester reports seeing more and more people taking pictures of the refreshed murals and “oohing and ahhing about the signs.” It’s the same excitement, Lester says, that they saw in 1972, adding “Marti and Nilsine are doing a fantastic job.”

There will be a sip and stroll event to raise money for the “Let's Paint Winthrop” effort on Friday September 15th; more information is available at

And there's much more on this story at methowvalleynews-dot-com.

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