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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 21, 2007 8:26 PM. The previous post in this blog was Chain chain chain. The next post in this blog is Over the swamps to Gotham. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Friday, September 21, 2007

Perfect example

I wrote a while back about how the real problem with graffiti in Portland is not the free availability of spray paint, but rather growing fatigue on the part of property owners with the very necessary process of promptly removing or covering up graffiti tags.

If you want to see what I'm talking about, just head over to Five Star Cleaners at NE Broadway and 14th. There you'll find an egregious display that could have -- should have -- been covered up quickly. What we need is to have the city get those business owners to do the job, and make them feel appreciated when they do it. Leaving that mess up as it stands now would set back anti-graffiti efforts in that neighborhood quite a bit.

Comments (14)

Many municipalities use zoning ordinances to regulate the boarding up of premises or the property owner's tolerance of grafiti as it is thought this tends to "turn" a neighborhood.

Streamlining the court proceedings against offenders might help.

Streamlining the court proceedings against offenders might help.

How about a $1000 reward for the arrest and conviction of these jerks. And at lest one day in jail. (Double it for each later conviction.)

The money could come out of a special tax on the beneficiaries of UR districts.


Come on Jack, this is Portland, its called art. Ask Sam Adams, he knows about these things, you know every week he has a party for "art!"

Many years ago, my business partner and I discussed starting a graffiti removal service. You would sell service contracts to businesses, keep their paint in your inventory, and, when summoned, roll over the graffiti.

If there's any enterprising young people with sounder backs than mine, you might want to think about this.

Dave's idea is a good one!
I believe that metro recycles paint. I am
not sure if it for exterior use, but it does come in several neutral colors.
Even if it did not match exactly it would be preferable to the graffiti on the buildings.
Maybe the city could give some sort of small tax credit or other incentives, to businesses to clean up the graffiti and keep it off. Rather like an award for good attendance at school.
After all, the give away FAR (air rights)credits all the time to the big developers.

My business's front wall, facing Belmont, gets tagged a couple of times a year. Either I or one of the adjacent businesses usually get right on it the next day--each of us has a can of the same paint that originally went on the building. It's not that big a deal for us.

But earlier this week, the mural on the side of the building got tagged. Cleaning that off is decidedly more difficult.

A graffiti removal service sounds like it could develop into a racket. And if you start one, you better be good at matching paint. Contrary to Anne's sentiments, the lack of an exact color match is just as bad as the graffiti if you are trying to make a good impression on customers. A jagged rectangle of different-hued paint splashed over a wall just looks tacky.

I'm all for locking up the spray paint cans (and the graffitists as well). I'm not sure there even is that high a legal demand for spray paint.

That is like blaming rape victims because they wear skirts. The a*&holes that vandalize should be punished but that doesn't happen. You can steal 100 cars priced at $40,000.00 each and not serve any time in this town.Some crimes are considered forgivable just don't try to cut down a tree in your front yard

While I sympathize with businesses who have been victims of tagging, the city just can't permit the businesses to leave it there.

My proposals:

Make defacing property with graffiti punishable by mandatory house arrest for 6 months, no exceptions. "Sorry, Son," says the bleeding-heart judge, "I'd love to let you off, because it's your first offense, but the voters of Portland are fed up with folks like you, and have enacted mandatory house arrest. I've got no choice." Maybe this will get the vandals' attention. The vandals get one of those cute little ankle bracelets. Make them pay for the monitoring. Do this for first-time offenders, too. Not so cool anymore, is it? Special added bonus: that little bracelet squeals on them if they leave the house, so guess who won't be doing any more graffiti?

Make business owners clean up graffiti within the week. If they don't, fine them. If they don't pay the fine, yank their business license. They can pass on the increased cost occasioned by the graffiti cleanup to their customers. If the city were cleaning it up, we'd all be paying for it anyway, so what's the difference?

Also, we can put some of those inmate crews to work removing graffiti on public property. No reason for them to sit on their butts all day watching TV.

Graffiti really is a scourge that has to be stopped, and stopped now. If you all don't get a handle on this problem, pretty soon Portland will look like some of the parks I've seen in Europe (away from the pricey tourist areas, where the average people live) that have beautiful fountains and statues -- all completely covered in graffiti. It's just really sick and sad to see it.

I believe there are some regulations for businesses to remove or cover up the graffiti. When I have spoken with Marcia Dennis of the graffiti abatement office, she has informed me that once the city is notified of graffiti on a business, they notify the business and the business has 10 days to clean it up. The onus is still on the business which sucks since some places are tagged daily and cleaned up daily. That gets expensive.

Regarding the cover-up service. I have seen them out there. On N. Interstate one early morning, I saw a guy in a beat up truck full of paint rolling down the street and covering up tags here and there. The colors didn't match quite right, but the tags were gone. Was he a contractor or a good Samaritan? I don't know.

I have also seen a truck, again on N. Interstate, that was pretty formal and it had a decal with a company name of "Graffiti Removal Services inc." or something as bold as that. He looks more setup to do better color matching.

Since Miller Paint now opened a bright yellow store on the corner of N. Interstate and Alberta, I wonder if they are helping other businesses out. To my knowledge, there building hasn't been tagged. Then again, they are probably pretty good at color matching to hid paint-overs.

In the end, if you do see graffiti, take a photo and email it to the city. They catalog it and use it in court cases if and when the taggers are caught.

I remember a couple of years ago the Miller Paint on Sandy Blvd. got tagged. I noticed it on my way in to work by the time I came back that afternoon, it was gone. Don't remember it being tagged since.

Maybe if the PDX cops weren't so hamstrung...they could possibly do more as well. I'd love to see that for a change.

The two most effective ways of reducing graffiti are to cover it up and or remove it ASAP AND punish those who tag.
Without effective punitive measures the tagging will continue. If all the spray paint in the world is locked up there are other means of tagging.

No legal demand for spray paint? Apparently you don't watch enough Trading Spaces nor do enough crafts.

Why is the solution to graf banning spray paint, but the solution to gun violence isn't banning guns?

I still like my idea from last month:
"When a tagger gets caught, make it widely known what his tag is. Then, invite the public to scour the city for his tags. As I understand it, the severity of the punishment increases proportionately to the number of tags he or she is responsible for (I could be wrong about this--please advise)...If accomplishing nothing else, at least said tagger might spend the next couple weeks cleaning up his own vandalism."
Don't know about y'all, but taking pictures of every single tag I run into in a day would fill up my camera's memory card. If I knew that my pics were actually and actively helping to prosecute someone for vandalism, I would be more likely to stop and send a picture to Marcia Dennis.
One final thought: I don't think locking up spray paint in the hardware store will help much. The ads for "graffiti supplies" on the online forum that portland taggers congregate on make it pretty clear that spray paint is readily available.


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