Keeping Our Community Clean:
Second annual Graffiti Paint-Out deemed a success
About 100 volunteers took a stand against graffiti this weekend by participating in the second annual Graffiti Paint-Out.
Volunteers from neighborhood groups, Boy Scout troops and more worked Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008 to clean up a section of BNSF Railway that leads to Everett Station. More than 12,000 passengers ride through this gateway to the city each month on Amtrak and Sounder trains.
“For two consecutive years, we’ve stamped out graffiti in very centralized, very public areas,” said Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, whose office created the annual Graffiti Paint-Out event. “We’re sending a message that graffiti is an eyesore and a crime, and we, as a community, won’t stand for it.”
Reardon has worked beside Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick and County Councilman Brian Sullivan to increase code enforcement awareness and abatement. Both joined Reardon on Saturday.
Graffiti, which can signal gang territory, is one part of the county’s code enforcement division. As a result, areas often are retagged. County code-enforcement crews are working with the city of Everett and BNSF Railway to be sure this section remains clean.
Last year, Reardon and others removed graffiti from a well-known section of the Snohomish County Interurban Trail south of Everett. Tenacity by county crews has kept this area clean for more than a year.
Reardon has used the Graffiti Paint Out to raise awareness of the county’s fight against graffiti. Volunteers were encouraged to take home paint-out kits and to report graffiti on public and private property immediately for cleanup.
Sponsors for Saturday’s annual paint-out event include the city of Everett, Lowe’s Home Improvement Store, the Snohomish County-Camano Association of REALTORS, BNSF Railway, QFC, Starbucks, Subway, and Sound Transit. Sponsors provided food, beverages, supplies and technical assistance.
View photos of the event.
First annual Graffiti Paint-Out a huge success
On Saturday, October 7, 2007, Executive Reardon led nearly 80 volunteers for Snohomish County's 1st Annual Graffiti Paint-Out. The event was a huge success, with volunteers using nearly 100 gallons of paint to cover graffiti along a heavily vandalized section of the Interurban Trail
Volunteers came from across the county, including elected officials from Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Marysville, and Mukilteo. Local boy scout troops and the South Everett/Mukilteo Rotary Club also volunteered their time.
"If graffiti is left to stand on a wall or on a public space, it attracts more graffiti, debris, and garbage, and it attracts criminal activity," Reardon said. "It sends a message to the community at large that this neighborhood is not safe. This is not a message that we will tolerate in Snohomish County."
To further combat graffiti in Snohomish County, Executive Reardon has proposed a Snohomish County Graffiti Removal Crew in his 2008 budget, now being reviewed by the County Council.
"Graffiti is a problem we must all partner together to solve. Thanks to the support of our sponsors, the Snohomish Camano Association of Realtors, Rodda Paint, Lynnwood Honda, Lowes, Top Food and Drug, Starbucks, Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds, Mukilteo, and the dozens of citizens who volunteered, the event was a great success and demonstrated the enthuisiam and commitment of the people of Snohomish County to eradicate graffiti," said Reardon.
Graffiti is a crime
Every year, graffiti costs property owners millions of dollars in damage in the United States. Graffiti comes in many forms. “Tagger” graffiti is the most common, representing as much as 80% of all graffiti nationally. There is also gang, hate and generic graffiti. According to national data, 50-70% of all graffiti is produced by suburban males between the ages of 12 and 19 acting out of a desire to rebel, for fame or self-expression. Most graffiti is spray paint, but vandals also use stickers, markers, grease pencils, etching products and more to deface property.
What is Snohomish County doing about graffiti?
Executive Reardon has made eliminating graffiti a priority in Snohomish County. Allowing graffiti to fester not only increases the likelihood that more graffiti will occur, but it leads to the spread of other crime activity. That’s why Snohomish County is aggressively tracking and eradicating any graffiti that occurs on County property, and working with local partners to eliminate graffiti on property in Snohomish County not owned by the County. Studies have shown that quickly eliminating graffiti dramatically reduces repeat incidents. Snohomish County strives to eliminate graffiti within 24-hours on County property.
To report graffiti on public property (parks, bridges, roadways, and buildings/facilities) in Snohomish County, use our online form to report graffiti or call Snohomish County Code Enforcement at (425) 388-3311.
If you see graffiti in progress, call 911 immediately.
What to do if you are a victim of graffiti
- Contact your local police department to file a report.
- Photograph the graffiti before removal to aid law enforcement in their investigation.
- Remove graffiti immediately. Studies have shown that immediate removal of graffiti (within 24-48 hours) dramatically reduces repeat offenses.
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