PORTLAND – The mural that Gov. Paul LePage wants removed from the headquarters of the state Department of Labor may find a home in Portland City Hall.

The 36-foot-long mural would be displayed on the second floor of City Hall, on a long wall between the city manager’s and city clerk’s offices, under a deal worked out between independent state Rep. Ben Chipman of Portland and the LePage administration.

Chipman said he still opposes the decision to remove the mural, but at least it could be seen by many people in Portland.

Mayor Nick Mavodones said the City Council will hold a public hearing April 4 on whether to accept the piece on loan.

Many details must be worked out, he said, from insurance and liability issues to who will pay to remove, transport and re-install the mural.

The Portland displeases some people because they want LePage to reverse his order to have the mural removed.

“We haven’t even begun to fight and we’re throwing in the towel?” said Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland. “The people do not want this (mural) moved.”

Mavodones said he may invite labor officials to the public hearing and suggest that they get involved in moving the mural to Portland.

He noted that City Hall is often used for art installations, including an annual show of art by union members who work for the city.

“I’m a manager now, but for 20 years I was a member of a union and a shop steward, so I certainly have strong feelings about organized labor and its importance in our society,” said Mavodones, who works for Casco Bay Lines.

Mavodones also suggested that the mural could go on a statewide tour that starts in Portland and then moves to other cities and towns.

Matt Schlobohm, executive director of the Maine AFL-CIO, endorsed that idea while reiterating his opposition to removing the artwork from the Department of Labor, which he called disrespectful to working people and an example of politics trumping people.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at: [email protected]