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Restaurant Mural Causes Stir in West Jordan

A large mural covering a Mexican restaurant in West Jordan is causing some controversy between city officials and residents.  

When Miguel Galaz began painting murals on the outside of Azteca de Oro Taqueria, a restaurant owned by his friend’s parents, he was excited to turn it into a community art project. But he didn’t expect such negative reactions.

“There was a lot of tension that was created. We had an incident where a truck pulled up and they parked right in front of the restaurant and they just started saying racial slurs,” he says.

Eventually, people started calling the city to report the murals as vandalism. Galaz thinks it’s because the paintings depict Hispanic art and culture. And while the art isn’t vandalism, West Jordan’s city code only allows for 15 percent of commercial buildings to be covered by signs or murals and the city asked for it to be removed.

Interim City Manager Bryce Haderlie says he’d like to work toward a solution—whether that’s taking down the artwork or changing the city code to allow larger murals. “We want this city to be a great, diverse, cultural community where everyone can exist cooperatively and get along," he says. "And so we hope everyone will just maintain their goodwill and allow this to go through the process. So far the property owners have been great.”

In the meantime, the city council has allowed the paintings to stay up for another 30 days.

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