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Dori: City forces property owners, not taggers, to clean up graffiti

Graffiti at Gasworks Park in October 2015. (Riley Elliott/

A great tipster who has helped us break a couple of big stories in the past sent us a letter that was sent from Seattle Public Utilities to business owners. It comes from the clean city inspector with the Graffiti and Illegal Dumping Division.

The City of Seattle has noticed illegal graffiti at the above-listed address.

Despite Seattle being a beautiful place to call home, Graffiti [sic] is becoming a serious problem facing our city. It’s not only destructive; it makes citizens feel less secure and lowers property values. Taking prompt, proactive steps to report and remove graffiti is the best way to prevent it from occurring in your community, and will help keep our city clean.

The City needs your help to keep Seattle a clean and safe place for its residents. The City of Seattle *Graffiti Nuisance Ordinance* requires property owners to remove graffiti found on their property within 10 calendar days. If the graffiti is gang or hate related, it must be removed within 48 hours (Seattle Municipal Code 10.07.010 et. seq.) Failure to remove graffiti within the above time-period can lead to fines and legal action against the Property Owner [sic].

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You want to talk about turning a place over to the criminals? The tagger is the criminal. The property owner is the victim. And yet in our bizarro-world that we’ve constructed, we’re making the property owner the criminal. The owner could have to pay a fine or face other sanctions if somebody vandalizes their own property.

Go to the U District. Go to the alley between the Ave and 15th, around 45th Street. You’ll see signs proclaiming, “We love drug addicts,” and needles scattered everywhere. Where there is rampant drug use, there is rampant graffiti. We have a city that has encouraged as much drug use as possible, and decriminalized heroin and meth in small amounts. It’s well known that tagging goes along with drug use. And the property owners become the criminals?

The City recognizes that vandals can be frustrating and damaging. Vandals “tag” where they think their work can be seen by others, with most seeking notoriety and recognition through graffiti. Prolonging visibility enhances their satisfaction and reinforces their behavior. The quicker graffiti is removed, the less likely taggers will vandalize your property again.

The property owners are responsible for the city turning over the streets to the gangs and the drug users. It is unbelievable how upside-down things are here now. The law-abiding are the criminals, the criminals have free reign, and things keep spiraling. But I’m sure once the Left takes full control, it will be a beautiful and perfect place.

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