Three Marysville schools hit with graffiti

MARYSVILLE Graffiti continues to be a problem in the city, with vandals this time attacking three district school buildings over the weekend of Feb. 9-10.
Administrative assistant to Superintendent Larry Nyland, Jodi Runyon said the schools hit the hardest were Marysville Middle School and Tulalip Heritage.
Pinewood Elementary received some attention from the taggers, but not to the extent of the other two buildings, Runyon said.
District workers had removed or covered the damage by early this week.
According to Runyon, there was no real pattern to the damages done and it wasnt clear whether or not the same group visited more than one school. She did say there appeared to some gang tagging involved. The vandals struck exterior walls and windows.
As of last week, Runyon added the district still was compiling the cost of cleaning up the mess. While the schools definitely suffered more than average during that one weekend, Runyon also said the district has been struck with graffiti on a fairly regular basis.
Its there, but its not any more than the rest of the city, she said.
The last big reported graffiti attack happened the weekend of Jan. 12-13 in Jennings Nature Park. At the time, city Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew put the cost of the clean up at $2,000. The figure included $800 for some specialized signing that had been spray-painted and could not be repaired. City Councilman Jeffrey Vaughan was especially upset over the incident. He talked angrily about how vandals had destroyed, on previous occasions, some benches and other amenities installed by his son in Jennings as a community service project for the Boy Scouts of America.
Im pretty upset about this and I want to see some real action, Vaughan said.
After the recent school attacks, Vaughan once more brought the issue of graffiti vandalism before Council at their Feb. 11 meeting. According to Vaughan, the city has spent $5,500 to clean up graffiti in Jennings Park since July. Officials have spent another $3,400 in Comeford Park over the same period. Adding in smaller amounts spent for clean-ups in other locations, Vaughan said Marysville easily has spent over $10,000 on graffiti removal since last summer.
In an attempt to curb the vandalism problem, Council last year proposed requiring all local businesses keep markers, spray paint and similar items under lock and key, in areas not easy accessible. After some complaints from the business community, officials decided to essentially encourage, but not require stores to lock away such items. However, officials also agreed to revisit the issue in one year.
Last week, Vaughan said that time had come.
I definitely want to have this discussion, said Councilman Lee Phillips, echoing the comments of several Council members.
Councilwoman Carmen Rasmussen said she wants to find and speak with any business owners that had set markers and such out of reach, talking with them about any difficulties they may have encountered. She also wants to visit with businesses that didnt hide away the items and find out why.
Phillips said larger chain stores probably wouldnt have any problem with locking away the targeted items. Many of those stores, he said, operate in states that already have on the books rules similar to those Marysville might put in place.
Vaughan said Council needs to spread the word about any upcoming discussions through the citys chamber of commerce. No one set any deadline for when a ban might be discussed.

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