By Maquette Reeverts | Alberta Art Works
Illegal graffiti and tagging costs property owners time and money. Add a pandemic with a “stay at home” order, and tagging creates an added burden, especially on small businesses.
“The amount of money the Black United Fund of Oregon (BUFOR) spends each year on graffiti abatement amounts to a lost scholarship for a teen from our underserved communities,” pled Curtrina Huff, BUFOR executive office and operations manager.
Portland City Code Chapter 14B.80.040 requires business owners to clean all graffiti within 10 days or be subject to fines. The owner could expect to be charged for the removal of the graffiti, an overhead charge of 25% for “program administration” plus a $250 fine.
Removal would be by one of two services the city contracts. One estimate for buffing a 150-square-foot brick wall is $600-$700, and could become a property lien.
Any gang-related tags or hate speech, however, are removed free by the city. Cover it and call the Office of Community and Civic Life at 503.823.4824. Add it iona l ly, DI Y graffiti removal kits are available at Fire Station 14 at 1905 N.E. Killingsworth St.
A tag is the most basic handstyle writing of an artist’s name. A graffiti writer’s tag is a personalized, quickly written signature. Tagging amounts to 80-85% of all graffiti in Portland, with taggers’ median age being 20. Most will travel in a “crew,” resulting in the phenomenon of waking up and discovering swaths that popped up overnight of grouped scrawlings.
Buffing is the knee-jerk response. That’s the act of trying to erase the marks by painting over or cleaning. Variations in tints and sporadic coverage, however, create eyesores of painted fields and lightened brick. The wall becomes a blank canvas that beckons the next tagger, leading to the next buffing, leading to tagging…
Visit this spot next month for options that can abate tagging on your property. Here’s a hint about one: murals.
Michel Reeverts, aka Maquette , holds a master of arts degree in art education, serves Alberta Art Works as director and Alberta Street Gallery as a board member. She is also a practicing artist. Contact her at Maquette@ AlbertaArtWorks.org
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