by Stan Penkin
Does it seem that graffiti around town is worse than ever? Well, you’re right. According to a recent report to City Council by Juliette Muracchioli from the Office of Neighborhood Involvement’s (ONI) Graffiti Abatement Program, high priority graffiti reports involving hate or gang tags have increased considerably from 2011 through 2016.
With the looming threat of the Program being totally disbanded, ONI is asking City Council to not only maintain current budget levels, but to expand it so that Portland can better combat this ever growing menace. While Portland’s program has a budget of about $340,000, the City of Denver with a similar population budgets $1.3 million. The smaller City of Sacramento budgets about $1,000,000. The cost of damages in Portland due to graffiti is now at some $1,800,000.
For many years, Portland was nationally acclaimed for its Graffiti Abatement Program, but budgetary restraints no longer allow us that distinction. Graffiti abatement is essential in maintaining Portland’s quality of life and keeping neighborhoods safe and livable. The failure to properly enforce our graffiti laws encourages an influx of taggers from all over the country and leads to other insidious criminal activities.