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Homes vandalized with graffiti in Seattle’s Madison Valley

(KIRO 7)

How about being greeted with graffiti in the New Year?

That’s the situation for several homeowners in one Seattle neighborhood. Some of them alerted KIRO 7 to a few acts of vandalism, and our crews ended up finding some more.

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Most of it was graffiti, and graffiti of any type carries a message, but the messages in the Madison Valley section of Seattle appeared to target certain homes with phrases such as “Eat the Rich” and “Yuppies.”

Graffiti art is in the eye of the beholder, but when the message written across someone’s home is “Eat the Rich” or advocates hurting police with the phrase “Kill Cops” or highlights anarchists, the message and messengers can seem clear.

The graffiti found New Year’s Day targeted new or renovated properties in the Madison Valley, and at least one piece of graffiti defaced a sign for an empty lot where homes haven’t even been built.

One homeowner who asked that we not use his name says he spent New Year’s Day wiping away the graffiti in his front yard.

“Saw it happen to a neighbor three blocks down, somebody had written ‘eat the rich’ on this house. So we were coming back from a walk from the Arboretum and saw as we came somebody had written ‘Kill Cops’ on our fence.”

He says that he recognizes the political bent from phrases like “Eat the Rich” but also wonders if the political message could be sent without defacing someone’s home.

“I empathize with a lot of things that are happening in the world, but I don’t think that’s the right approach.”

Other acts of vandalism included a smashed pickup truck window.

All of it bothered Mario Estany, who says he’s lived near 29th Avenue East for 11 years. He’s kept an eye on things, even cleaned his own street, only to see furniture dumped on corners, and now spray-painted properties,

“I sweep because I love to do community service … It’s so wrong,” he said of the graffiti.

Estany says the lesson to not deface things came at an early age in his native Cuba.

“I want to write something on the walls in my house in Cuba. They say, ‘NO, you have paper!’”

Madison Valley has seen changes that some would call gentrification. Newer homes, new construction and some remodeling are the norm. In 2018, Seattle is poised to keep changing in a similar fashion, and some class conflict could come with it.

The person who wrote the graffiti decrying the wealthy — or relatively well-to-do — and the new resident who has to clean it may both think “There goes the neighborhood.”

Estany’s solution for both is simple: “Paint something beautiful.”

Residents said the Seattle Police Department took photos to catalog the graffiti. Seattle Police did respond to several reported incidents in the areas of 29th and 30th Avenue East.

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