‘Graffiti Paint-Out’ volunteers clean up Marysville | SLIDESHOW

MARYSVILLE — Last summer’s “Graffiti Paint-Out” saw close to 100 volunteers tackling five zones covering the entire city of Marysville, with each zone containing an average of eight graffiti-prone fences.

This year’s event on Saturday, April 14, drew more than 140 volunteers, divided them up into seven teams and concentrated four of those teams in the downtown Marysville area from First through Ninth street, between the railroad tracks to the west and 47th Avenue to the east.

City of Marysville Parks Maintenance Manager Mike Robinson noted that the volunteers were armed with 150 gallons of paint, 80 paint rollers, 120 roller pads and 40 brushes. While they touched up homeowners’ street-side fences as far north as 116th Street, Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring acknowledged that much of this year’s “Graffiti Paint-Out” is also intended to complement the downtown revitalization that he deemed a key priority for the city in 2012.

“This doesn’t happen without the community coming out to support it,” said Nehring, who joined City Council members Jeff Vaughan, Jeff Seibert, Michael Stevens and Rob Toyer in getting paint-flecks on their work clothes to cover up graffiti with a few fresh coats of paint. “What I love about Marysville is that we have that spirit of volunteerism, where if we see a problem, we’ll put some elbow grease into fixing it.”

While Nehring described wiping out graffiti as another step toward fostering a greater sense of identity for the city’s downtown core, 6-year-old Aden Stevens explained the event’s importance much more simply.

“It’s so we can clean up the bad things people have done to other people’s property, to make it the way it was,” said Michael Stevens’ son, as he stood on his tiptoes to paint graffiti-tagged building walls near the railroad tracks as high as he could reach.

“He’s been bringing up the paint-out fairly regularly since the last time we did it,” the elder Stevens said of son Aden’s second such outing. “If kids remember doing this, and why they did it, then hopefully they won’t become the people on the other side who are doing the graffiti.”

Jesse Vaughan, Jeff’s 14-year-old son, agreed that the community looks nicer without graffiti, which he feels can make a place seem “trashed out.”

On the other side of State Avenue, 13-year-old Irina Vovkulin took up painting duties in a residential alleyway near Totem Middle School, which she attends, alongside several fellow members of the Marysville YMCA’s Minority Achievers Program.

“It makes the community look cute,” Vovkulin said.

“It’s healthier and not polluted,” added 13-year-old Angelica Kulchitskiy, who attends Marysville Middle School and also picked up litter in the area.

Jessica Sills, an 18-year-old at Marysville Getchell High School’s International School of Communications, lent her height to touching up the top areas that the other young volunteers couldn’t reach.

“I heard about the paint-out from Liane [Ha’i],” Sills said, referring to the Marysville YMCA teen director. “I’m kind of shocked. I didn’t realize there was this much graffiti. Cleaning it up shows that you care about where you live.”


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