Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is on a mission to fight graffiti in the city, and he's put together a plan working with several city bureaus to clean the streets of the Rose City.
Monday morning Wheeler announced the new city-sponsored Graffiti Abatement Program or GAP.
Starting July 1, crews will be out cleaning up graffiti across the city, and the service is free to Portland businesses for this year. City officials estimate that local businesses and city crews together spend nearly $2 million annually to remove graffiti around Portland.
The city estimates crews will remove nearly 70,000 square feet of graffiti working with two private contractors, Graffiti Removal Services and Portland Graffiti Removal, all with a goal of reducing high-visibility graffiti in in communities.
City leaders also hope the new plan with address a spike in hate-related vandalism, which they said has increased in the past 8 months.
“We heard loudly and clearly from people, particularly in the Lents neighborhood but broadly in east Portland, that they are very concerned about the increased tagging that they’re seeing,” Wheeler said.
Darrell Hanson has owned Darrel's Economy Mufflers in southeast Portland for more than three decades, and he said his employees have also seen a spike in vandalism over the last few years.
“Once they keep it clean, you have less problem of it coming back,” Hanson said. “That’s the reason why when I get it on my post or on my building, the next day it’s gone. I don’t want to leave it sitting there because it just entices more people to do it.”
If residents that see any kind of graffiti in their neighborhood, the city advises them to remove it immediately. If help is needed with the cleanup, residents can call the gap hotline at 503-823-4824, email in a tip at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the online reporting form at PDXReporter.org.
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