Portland artist builds huge nest to honor victims, help people cope with MAX stabbing


The word love is written so many times on the Hollywood Transit Center wall, it's easy to lose count.

"It makes me really happy to see that, that's empowering," says Heidi Riley, who drives a TriMet bus.

"It's definitely a good message... the one thing I've seen is united," says Joel Rojas, a regular user.

The flowers and messages - illuminated even overnight - are all to honor and thank those who stood up against hate on the MAX. A circular pattern of flowers forms on a section of the sidewalk. Beneath it, lies a nest.

"When you think about a bird's nest, it's there to protect its young," explains Debbie Baxter, an artist.

"I was like, 'Oh I really want to go and build a nest in honor of everybody who's ever not felt safe, and in honor of those who did protect that innocence that day," Baxter said. "My first nest was really just built as a way to honor the loss of my mother."

The professional photographer started photographing people, "they come and get in my nest and I photograph them. We've all come from the same place, really. We've all come from a womb, we're all the same, really, when we strip it all down."

For anyone who has felt loss or disenfranchised, victimized by hate and intolerance, for anyone feeling alone; the nest at the Hollywood station was made for you.

"With this particular nest, it's all about protection," Baxter says. "It's the idea that we should all be able to feel safe, and loved and protected no matter who we are, where we're from, what color we are, who we love or who we pray to."

If hate was the catalyst on that fateful Friday, it was overcome by love.

"Something so terrible that could also bring out something so beautiful. It's now like a holder of love."

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