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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rumor: Please confirm or deny

Is it true that the Portland City Council is going to vote on Fireman Randy's spray paint lockup ordinance tomorrow, with only three council members present?

Man, if a Burnside Bridgehead Home Depot store doesn't put the little hardware stores out of business, goofiness like this will. If it results in even a slight reduction in tagging in Portland, I'd be shocked. And how many city bureaucrats can we afford to pay to enforce it?

Coming up next for Portland: Crisco by prescription only. It's bad for you!

Comments (25)

The problem with this ordinance is that it ultimately won't work. The pseudoephedrine registry made sense because you need to purchase significant quantities of cold medicine if you want to make meth. You don't have to purchase significant quantities of spray paint if you want to tag the hell out of a few neighborhoods. I'm sure the cold medicine registry made it simple to see who was buying too much, but is some tagger who bought one can of paint downtown, one in NW, one in NE, and one in Beaverton really going to stand out?


You do know that Crisco is TransFat free right? (At least it is now.)

So you are safe to eat as much Crisco as you want. ;-) (At least as far as the Portland City Council is concerned.)

Speaking of Commissioner Leonard, let's look into his last great idea a little deeper, shall we?


i think putting the cans behind lock and key changes the dynamic slightly. there is a % of tagging that comes from 12-15 year olds who are just plain bored.

two 13 year olds just the other day were tagging the alley behind my work in broad daylight. they were just two bored white kids trying to be cool.

if you take the shop lifted cans off the streets you'll deal with a chunk of this sort of behavior. i have no idea if their paint was shoplifted or not (surely dad's garage has cans as well). but spray paint is one of those things that are very commonly stolen.

you'll still have gangs tagging and older kids tagging, but i don't think anyone has a good single solution to tagging problems. its all going to be piecemeal.

Jack- Maybe Leonard was reading your occasional rants against graffiti and decided to do something about it, even if it's not the magic pill. Since you've railed so passionately against graffiti punks, why would locking up spray paint be such a bad idea now?

Tell that to the small hardware stores, who get to spend thousands more on the latest Portland social experiment.

Based on my usage of spray paint trying to cover a small area, it takes multiple cans. The larger tagging "art" I've seen must use a case (or cases) of the stuff.

Since the ordinance won't affect purchases in Beaverton, Gresham or Vancouver, I think the real test will be if tagging drops in the central part of the City and stays the same in outlying areas near the 'burbs.

Unfortunately, like so many of the City's experiments there won't be any follow up to see if the ordinance is having any effect.

Taggers will use anything to ply their trade. If spray paint is not available, they will use broad tipped marking pens or even shoe polish applicators. They will etch glass with rocks picked up out of the street.

Some of the really large pieces that you see are done with rollers and wall paint.

To answer your initial question, Jack: Yes, the Council is scheduled to vote on the ordinance tomorrow. Mayor Potter moved at the end of the hearing on the spray paint regulations to delay the vote until September, and lost that vote. Both the Mayor and Commissioner Saltzman are on vacation tomorrow. That means the other three members of the Council can do regular business such as the vote on the graffiti ordinance, but there will be no emergency motions or items on the Consent Agenda.

Focusing on some of the words in this blog:

If one stands across the street from Winks Hardware store on SE 2nd, connecting the dots between "Burnside" (that world famous place) and "spray paint cans" would be interesting.

Since you've railed so passionately against graffiti punks, why would locking up spray paint be such a bad idea now?

The city has a great anti-graffiti program. If anything, graffiti in the parts of town I frequent is down from prior periods.

If I thought this would do any good at all, I'd support it. But it won't. It's just going to make merchants like Winks and Hankins wonder why they bother to stay here.

If you really want to stop graffiti, prosecute some more of these nuts. Put up some cameras and patrol 20th between I-84 and Division. They're as thick as thieves in there. You think those loonies aren't going to get spray paint because it's locked up in the retail stores? You're dreaming. Ever been to a garage sale?

Do a little research and you'll find that other places that have done this have seen a drop in the graffiti problem (NYC is the biggest example that comes to mind). Not sure why this is such a big deal...

This isn't about stopping one determined tagger, it's about reducing the amount of graffiti, which this will certainly accomplish.

Example of a tagger frustrated by this sort of ban:

this is far from being a weird "social experiment". its fairly common in cities.

and as gene points out, people think its connected to a modest reduction in graffiti.

Napoleon once said: "Never ban anything you do not have the power to prevent."

But I think council does have the power to stop spray paint being available in front of counters—so it passes the Napoleon test. And I think the former Emperor of France should really serve as the yardstick for Portland City politics.

When it comes to banning homeless people existing, of course, that's a different issue. Who can really prevent that?! Napoleon would be furious.

Banning spray paint in cans is, at best, an only partial answer. The latest I've seen is slap tags. Basically, they're just tags that have been printed on self-adhesive label paper with strong adhesive. Also, there seems to be an upswing in tags done in permanent felt tip pin, usually of the metallic ink variety. This ordinance will not address those acts of vandalism, which, given the nature of such, when spray cans are outlawed, only outlaws will have spray cans, slap tags, horseleg permanent markers, brush and stencil...you name it, it'll find an outlet.

I think the best thing would be to apprehend the culprits and then place them to work in community service very publicly removing tags...theirs and anybody else's they run across. Whoever makes the mess cleans it up...It does not matter the age of the perpetrator. If they are old enough to vandalize, they are old enough to clean it up.

How about 'counter-vandalism'? Identify perpetrators and their hangouts for counter-tagging.

Nah...too much like vigilantism.

people think its connected to a modest reduction in graffiti

A cost-benefit analysis is what should be applied here. The cost to the merchants is certain, and they tell us that it's high. I'm sure they have figures to back them up. The benefit to society (reduction in graf) is not as clear. I guess we'll see.

Back where I lived in Texas, our spray paint was behind the counter or locked in a case. I do recall hearing from numerous cities that the amount of spray paint graffiti did indeed go down after the paint went behind the counters.

What went down significantly was the theft of the paint, which is typically used for graffiti and tagging.

If theft of paint goes down significantly wouldn't you think that the stores would be SAVING money? I think it's just a case of the smaller merchant stores being ran by an older generation who think that any change is bad.

To answer your the question implied in your first sentence, the three commissioners who will be there all support the ordinance. Since it's a vote only, there'd be no difference if Saltzman and Potter were there. Instead of 3-0, it'd be 3-2.

I think it's just a case of the smaller merchant stores being ran by an older generation who think that any change is bad.

Please stick your generation talk where the sun don't shine. If the Hankinses and Winks fold, no one of any age is going to replace them.

To answer your the question implied in your first sentence

It must be a really slow day at the Merc. If I had a question, I would have asked it.

there'd be no difference if Saltzman and Potter were there. Instead of 3-0, it'd be 3-2.

I believe that's a difference.

Randy Leonard said onb Lars recentlythat he had no idea if any, and how much jail time any taggers ever get.

So he wasn't even curious enough or responsible enough to check such a germane thing to see if just possbily there isn't any deterent.

Instead it's typical lazy and knee Jerk Randy.

IMO of course.

Street art on north end of NE 72nd reads: "SLOW"

What really upsets me is these people who slap bumper stickers all over other peoples property, and those idiots spray painting 'impeach' on curbs.

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