Community

Marysviille works with homeowners to provide free removal of graffiti

MARYSVILLE – In its ongoing fight to rid the community of graffiti and promote speedy cleanup that deters the recurring vandalism from becoming a lingering eyesore, city officials are reaching over the fence to help neighbors.

Under a new initiative developed by the city’s Graffiti Task Force, the city will ensure removal of graffiti from fences at no expense to homeowners, said Paul Rochon, Code Enforcement Officer. The main focus is fences that are visible from streets and high-traffic areas prone to attacks by taggers and graffiti vandals.

Current city anti-graffiti laws require removal of graffiti by property and business owners within 48 hours of being reported, to discourage subsequent markings. The quick turnaround time is based on studies that conclude if graffiti isn’t removed promptly, more will occur, and more often, Rochon said.

“We realize that some homeowners see these laws as punishing the victim, making them responsible for the cost and labor of having the graffiti removed,” said Rochon. “This is our attempt at a solution by working cooperatively with homeowners to take the costly sting out of removal.”

That solution starts with a Graffiti Abatement Program letter and form that Rochon has so far mailed to more than 200 homes. He expects to reach out to more homeowners to increase participation.

The letter offers residents the choice of three earth tone paint colors to choose from – Red Cedar, Beachgrass and Baked Brick. The mailing includes a Consent to Enter Onto Property to Abate Graffiti form that grants city workers permission to enter the homeowner’s property to remove future graffiti from their fences at no cost. Essentially, city workers need access to frontage outside the fence facing a street.

Forms must be signed and returned – including color choice - to Code Enforcement Officer Paul Rochon, City of Marysville Community Development Department, 80 Columbia Ave. They can either be mailed or hand-delivered.

The Letter and Consent Form are also available on the City website at http://marysvillewa.gov.

For those who choose to keep their fence its current color, says Rochon, future graffiti cleanup will remain the responsibility of the homeowner and at their expense.

In other graffiti-related news, the city of Marysville is seeking volunteers and corporate sponsors to join active duty volunteers from Navy Recruiting District-Seattle and other groups in a community-wide Graffiti Paint Out scheduled for Saturday, July 16. Further details will be announced later.

Volunteers will gather at 9 a.m. in the Cedarcrest Middle School north parking lot, 6400 88th St. NE, to receive painting materials and location assignments that will direct them to several “hot spots” around Marysville and street-side fences where homeowners have been victimized.

Graffiti is a serious problem that negatively impacts commerce, reduces property values, creates blight, and increases the propensity for gang-related activity, said Mayor Jon Nehring.

“We want this event to send a clear message to graffiti vandals and taggers that our community has zero tolerance for graffiti,” he said. “We hope you will join us in eradicating the unsightly blight that graffiti creates along streets and in our neighborhoods.”

To report graffiti anytime, use the Graffiti Online Reporting Form at http://marysvillewa.gov/graffiti.aspx. The form also enables users to upload photos of graffiti as well, which helps police identify the perpetrators.

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