Community Post

Graffiti project: how is the problem around you?

We’re working on a project with our citywide news partners at the Seattle Times to talk about graffiti in the neighborhood, and need to collect some thoughts from our CDNews readers:


  1. Do you think graffiti is a problem in your area?
  2. Where are the problem spots?
  3. What do you and your neighbors do to help clean it up?
  4. Should the city be doing more to help out?

Leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.

0 thoughts on “Graffiti project: how is the problem around you?

  1. So I report the graffiti on the city form and call the hotline. They never follow up my call or email and they need to have an email that acknowledges when I made the complaint and when the graffiti was cleaned up. I think they are very lax on the clean up times. Also, I have a friend who lives in an east coast city which requires anyone to buy spray paint to track their license. I think this is a start and we need real laws to prosecute grafitti people (whether they are 12 or 22 or 32 yrs of age).

  2. Look at old roman ruins theres old roman grafiti all over them. Grafiti will most likely never go away cuz people were here and they want others to know

  3. We get graffiti on our retaining wall on the alley OFTEN and also on a retaining wall on the side of the house. We spray paint over it…and then have to do it again and again and again. Sadly, I just take it as the price we pay for living in the neighborhood. I doubt the city has the resources to address it effectively in our area….I know it’s a cinical perspective…but it’s how I feel.

  4. graffiti occurs most commonly on the abandoned buildings on capitol hill, particularly the burnt apartment complex on bellevue and pine and the burnt house on boylston and republican. at least turn them into parking lots or something. they’re so much worse than just a little tag on a wall. they are seriously huge half burnt down buildings that attract squatters become public dumping grounds.

    as for walls that generally attract graffiti, i think the city should commission artists for big pieces and murals that add to the neighborhood. when i was visiting LA, the pastor showing me around told me businesses would do this and it would act as a major deterrent for gang tags, etc.

  5. I’ve seen bad graffiti problems before. Cities like Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Detroit…now they have a strong graffiti culture. Here in Seattle (yes, even in the CD), I see comparatively no graffiti. Occasional small tags here and there, bigger works near bank-owned abandoned property or eyesore chain stores. Tracking our citizens is a rather frightening proposal…not sure I could ever support such a measure. If, as madelinear suggested, we allow our artists recognition by getting large murals put up, our youth can have more respect for the place they live in.

    I think the billboards and poster advertisements we have allowed in our neighborhoods are much, much, much more obnoxious. Telling kids they can’t paint on walls but then letting businesses put up whatever they want shows a contradictory message. I keep calling the city to see if they can do some removal for those bits of urban decay. Never hear back from them on that issue, no emails, nothing. That billboard hovering over Grocery Outlet has been there for ages. Quite ugly, really brings our whole neighborhood down.

  6. I work for the Parks Department in Bellevue, and I’ve found that the best way to prevent graffiti is to make a “living wall”. When there’s space, I try to place an appropriate shrub in front of the wall. If there’s not much space, something like Boston Ivy will work quite nicely.

    Art is also great, of course.

  7. In the 20 years that I have lived here graffiti has always been a problem and will probably be a problem. The only good thing is that it used to gang signing but as the neighborhood has gotten more diveres the graffiti seems to be self recognition styles. I have a spray can of organic graffiti remover, it works well on signs and some wood but not very good on concrete walls. It usually bugs me on large spaces more than small areas like street sign poles and curbs. I am glad that the car wash is opened because I really hated driving by and seeing all the mess there. I see at the Philly Cheese building and it is beginning to grow hopefully it will be opened soon. The school I work at in Fremont was always being tagged by kids during the weeekends I finally put a old video camera pointing out the window and a sign that said ” You are being videotaped” the graffiti stopped so we put signs all around the building and it kept the whole school clean all the time now. Graffiti is a problem all over the city and we just have to keep our eyes open and make sure we discourage it as much as we can. If you see someone tagging let them know that they will be reported.

  8. 1)Yes, this is a problem in our area but not nearly as bad as a couple of years ago.

    2) Problem spots: the red wall on 20th & Union on the southeast corner should be REMOVED. Sometimes the owner leaves the latest tag there for several days before doing a poor job of removing the latest mess which comes right back as a consequence. Also the property on the north side of the street at 1820 Union is a constant mess. The area gets cleaned a few times a year but more frequently recently. Newspaper dispensers at bus stops are always getting signed because no one claims responsibility for them so they’re like an advertisement to the other losers who feel the need to do this.

    3)I’ve only resorted to this a couple of times myself but it’s a huge help if people call in/report to the city via internet, the latest mess as soon as possible or clean it up themselves. (City of Seattle site has a phone number of 206-684-7587 but the on line report form link isn’t working when I just tried it). If it’s not cleaned up, it will spread-fast. Please at least do this and don’t wait for others to do it for you. The more people reporting, the better the results. Just like with picking up trash, if you keep the area clean, it has more of a tendency to stay that way. Some folks are very good about keeping their areas free of this filth and over the years I can see that it really makes a difference (Thanks!).

    4) I wish the city could be more proactive to clean up problem areas but I have seen results by reporting via the means mentioned above. As long as the city continues to contact building owners who do not keep their properties clean once they have been reported, I’m fine with that as I realize they will continue to have limited resources.

  9. I’m hearing some really good ideas on ways to reduce graffiti. It is kind of a bummer that the city doesn’t respond faster to citizen complaints, but I’ve found that proactive cleaning is a good way to minimize repeat tags. While it is not our job to remove graffiti, I feel a sense of responsibility for my community and surroundings, so I do it anyway. Doesn’t cost much, isn’t too hard to do, and it makes me feel better about where I live.

    There were a few tags on the street signs by my house, and I just happened to try out some denatured alcohol I had sitting around. The ink came right off.

    Here’s a great document that covers pretty much every surface and removal technique: