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With ‘graffiti clean,’ Harrell to unveil ‘major community service initiative’ — UPDATE: One Seattle Day of Service

Bruce Harrell does not like graffiti. The new mayor will be in the Chinatown-International District Monday morning to unveil what his administration says will be a new “major community volunteer effort” in partnership with public, private, and nonprofit organizations. It will involve an issue that has repeatedly been a pet peeve for Harrell over his years on the council and on the campaign trail will apparently be in the crosshairs.

Monday’s Harrell administration media event will center around a “volunteer activity and graffiti clean,” according to a press release.

UPDATE: Monday, Harrell announced a “One Seattle Day of Service” citywide volunteer event will take place on May 21st “with over 2,200 volunteer opportunities across more than 80 different activities throughout all seven City Council Districts.”

“I love Seattle – and I know so many neighbors share that same passion for our city and want to be part of making it a better place,” Harrell is quoted as saying in the press release on the announcement. “As my administration works to tackle urgent challenges, I hear every day from Seattle residents looking for ways to be part of the solution. Today, I’m excited to announce the One Seattle Day of Service – a new opportunity for everyone to get involved and give back.”

The one-day volunteer events are being organized into three categories: Cleaning and beautification, Gardening and restoration, and Helping neighbors in need. You can sign up for two to three hour volunteer shifts here.

The announcement comes in the neighborhood where the mayor touted success in a “hot spot” policing initiative to clean up the area around 12th and Jackson and target street crime with an increased police presence.

Graffiti has held a special place in Harrell’s focus on public safety over the years, sometimes becoming the center of his statements on concerns about street disorder and policing, and, at other times, a tangent during speeches and media events as he has appeared around the city.

Earlier this winter, graffiti and vandalism as a public safety issue was escalated in the city by media like “The Ari Hoffman Show” on Seattle’s KVI AM 570 as other concerns like clearing homeless encampments were increasingly addressed by the administration.

Meanwhile, Capitol Hill maintains its love/hate relationship with the art form with paid street muralists mimicking street artists to cover buildings and advertise, while some taggers make you angry and others make you chuckle.

At Monday’s media and volunteer event, Harrell is slated to be joined by Jon Scholes of the Downtown Seattle Association, Monisha Singh of the Chinatown-International BIA, Quynh Pham from Friends of Little Sài Gòn, and representatives from the OL Reign and Seattle Sounders who play on nearby Lumen Field.

 

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HTS3
HTS3
2 months ago

Please do a follow-up on this. I’d love to know how to volunteer.

Glenn
Glenn
2 months ago

Please don’t equate paid muralists with taggers. Muralists are paid by a property owner to create something on defined public or private property. Taggers deface the property of others, either the public or private property owners, with images they place without permission. One activity is illegal and the other is legal. In addition, paid muralists almost without fail create something complex and competently done. Taggers? Their handiwork usually involves squiggly lines, repetitive symbols, and little complexity. The proliferation of the latter has diminished our city over the past few years, and it is beyond time to initiate major programs of enforcement and mediation to address it.

Reality
Reality
2 months ago
Reply to  Glenn

Graffiti has really degraded the city and contributed to the sense of lawlessness. Time to arrest the perpetrators. They should be held liable for cleanup cost and required to do community service.

Spray On
Spray On
2 months ago
Reply to  Reality

The lawlessness usually occurs in places that are not so evident. Easy to point out a kid with a spray can as the problem but the structure from the top is rotten.

kermit
kermit
2 months ago
Reply to  Glenn

I couldn’t have said it better! Thank you.

d4l3d
d4l3d
2 months ago

New Seattle, sanitized for your protection.

Glenn
Glenn
2 months ago
Reply to  d4l3d

New Seattle? I don’t think so, Any effort to address graffiti’s rampant proliferation would return us to Seattle as it very recently functioned. Graffiti has always been with us, but only to a very limited degree. The last few years has seen it explode across the landscape. These times represent the aberration, and bringing graffiti under control would restore us to the state that prevailed here for decades (with regard to graffiti).

Moving Soon
Moving Soon
2 months ago

Yes. Superficial things within sight must be swept away. The appearance of things being done. This is all that is required. I’m sure like everything else that we sweep away, it will never come back. lol.

pablo
pablo
2 months ago
Reply to  Moving Soon

So when really are you moving? We all await with bated breath. hopeful 0but continually disappointed.

Eli
Eli
2 months ago

Anyone who has a “love” relationship with graffiti is welcome to reimburse me the $150+ it costs each time my building gets tagged.

Moving Soon
Moving Soon
2 months ago
Reply to  Eli

You just leave it and it’s free. How can I invoice you for this consultation?

Glenn
Glenn
2 months ago
Reply to  Moving Soon

My residents wouldn’t appreciate that. They expect their building to look clean, safe, and habitable, and leaving it covered in graffiti would make renting the apartments much more difficult. And as we have seen, leaving a bit of graffiti just encourages more. Before you know it the building would not only look vacant, it probably would be. I live in the real world, as do my residents. Where is it you reside while in your perpetual state of moving soon?

HTS3
HTS3
2 months ago
Reply to  Moving Soon

Please share your address. Or the address of something you own or are fond of. Then let’s paint it with words and pictures that are chosen by others and may offend you. I’ve hired the local artist Weirdo to paint a wall for me. He is an artist. His murals at Neumo’s and other places around Seattle add to our community. The acts of random folks with spray cans—not so much, in my opinion.

DownWithIt
DownWithIt
2 months ago
Reply to  Moving Soon

Let us know where your building is so we can add some ambience.

Eli
Eli
2 months ago
Reply to  Moving Soon

No thanks. People pay real money for that building and expect it not to look like a scene from Escape from New York.

LOL
LOL
2 months ago

The graffiti in Seattle sucks anyways, won’t miss it. My usual response is to feel embarrassed for the tagger when I see it. The only semi-amusing one was

SPRINGBREAK U U

But I never even see that anymore.

Nieghbor 007
Nieghbor 007
2 months ago

It’s about time something is at least being attempted, I read the average tagger is a 24 year old white male. Talk about misplaced testosterone. Lighting, more cameras. Whatever it takes! These clowns are defacing even beautiful, decades old buildings. Maybe you should have to get a license to purchase spray paint— seriously! A sad low but if it works—why not. Plus a background check on any tagging offenses. Anyone busted should give back to the community by having to remove graffiti once a week for 3 years. They should be glad their sorry behinds are not in Singapore they’d be caned. And there white asses sent home a nice kroon red! There is nothing artistic about what they are doing. It’s toxic make energy is all. No one gives a shit about their stupid fucking initials or code names.

kermit
kermit
2 months ago
Reply to  Nieghbor 007

The problem is that the graffiti vandals usually operate late at night, when no one is around. The police must catch them in the act in order to make an arrest, and this rarely happens (let alone a prosecution).

Nomnom
Nomnom
2 months ago
Reply to  Nieghbor 007

I agree: Tagging is toxic. I see a “tag” and all I see is entitlement, arrogance, and misanthropy projected into the community. That idiotic “My friends will save the world” tagger is especially prolific; as soon as we clean it up she comes back with her idiotic, pass-the-buck “tag”.

As for the increase in tags: I live in a street-facing apartment near several homeless camps and the tagging comes almost entirely from them, from what I’ve witnessed. Check out any abandoned homeless camp and you’ll find spray cans and other tagging debris.

Mark
Mark
2 months ago

Talk about a waste of resources. I am all for cleaning up trash and planting trees, but graffiti is so far down the list of concerns about the city that Harrell needs to be called out on this. The graffiti will be back in 6 months and has zero impact on the safety and productivity of the city.

HTS3
HTS3
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Totally disagree with you Mark. Calling for a day for the residents of Seattle to be involved cleaning up the city is a great idea. Perhaps it can get us all to be involved a bit more and take some responsibility for our neighborhoods. Yes, the graffiti will probably be back in days not months. But then we can paint it out again. And again. Of course our city faces other challenges that also demand attention. And I believe they are working on those. We didn’t get to this place overnight, and it will take time and everyone’s involvement to get us out. That’s’ why I like having a community work party. I hope that it will start to unite us instead of divide us.

Nomnom
Nomnom
2 months ago

This is a fantastic plan! I will definitely participate in a day of volunteering to beautify the city. I’ll bet it’s a good turnout. There are a lot more people who love this city and are proud of it than the arrogant misanthropes who clearly hate it.

OnCapHill
OnCapHill
2 months ago

Great idea! Wow there’s always going to be at least some graffiti in a major city, there’s certainly been an explosion of graffiti and other property defacement during the pandemic. One incident that stands out in my mind is what happened to the rather nice commissioned pet mural near Broadway and Pine. Someone tagged it before the artist was able to even complete the mural. The artist came back and finished the mural, but now it’s completely covered just a couple weeks later.