Ross: A green solution for graffiti along Seattle freeways

Apr 4, 2022, 7:33 AM | Updated: 10:45 am
Graffiti I-5 Seattle, ivy...
Could the solution to graffiti along I-5 be right in front of us? (Lonnon Foster, Flickr Creative Commons)
(Lonnon Foster, Flickr Creative Commons)

I’ve been trying to figure out how to stop the highway graffiti pandemic.

My first idea was tanker trucks filled with paint, and with side-mounted spray nozzles to go on nightly patrols just painting over everything. But not a peep from the Department of Transportation.

So I thought, maybe I’m looking at this all wrong.

I was concentrating on the graffiti. I should be looking for the spots that have no graffiti to figure out why that is!

And I noticed that along I-5 downtown, the areas with no graffiti have one thing in common: ivy. Ivy has spilled over the top of the retaining wall!

Vandals want a clear canvas, and the ivy ruins that. So what we need – is to cover everything with ivy.

“But, Dave, that takes too long,” you might say.

Yes. But as I was searching the internet for genetically-engineered ivy, an ad for realistic instant ivy real pops up, and it can be expanded to cover any space.

“It’s like an accordion, and all of these leaves are attached to real willow branches,” the ad described.

It’s highway-ready and weather-treated — once it’s up, you can expand to cover an entire retaining a wall, and it’s like you woke up next to Harvard.

Its like this woman read my mind. All the DOT has to do is buy a few thousand yards of this stuff, and the graffiti will be gone.

Except minutes later in the infomercial, there were just 1,200 units left, then 200. So, why are the online sales people always running out of what they’re selling? We could have had this stuff up in a week, the spray-can people would show up they’d see ivy everywhere, and they’d go back to Portland.

But by the end of the ad, they were all sold out.

Dang. And we were so close.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: A green solution for graffiti along Seattle freeways