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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Freeway Park Hit Hard By Taggers

posted by on April 9 at 16:47 PM


7th & Seneca

Since the beginning of the year, the Seattle Parks Department has seen a drastic increase in graffiti at Freeway Park.


Between April and December 2007, the Parks Department only received 15 complaints about graffiti in the park, but in the last four months, they’ve been called out 40 times do deal with tagging.

Parks Department Spokeswoman Dewey Potter says Freeway Park isn’t the only park to see an increase in graffiti and the city’s cleanup crews are having trouble keeping up. “In the last year or so, [there has] been about 100 percent overall increase [in graffiti], ” Potter says. “We asked for some extra staff to work on [graffiti] in this years budget and didn’t get it.”

While Parks didn’t get extra money to deal with graffiti cleanup, the city has, in typical Seattle fashion, formed a task force—staffed by Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Department of Transportation, Parks, and Seattle City Light employees—to look at city-wide graffiti trends and talk to other cities about graffiti in the hopes of finding a way to remove tags within 24 hours. Right now, it takes Parks about a week to remove graffiti.

The first task force meeting is tomorrow.

When asked whether the city is planning to open any legal graffiti walls, Potter says she hasn’t heard anything specific, but thinks it’s unlikely. “I don’t know that there’s much warmth to the idea,” she says.

Photo via Flickr.

RSS icon Comments


“In the last year or so, [there has] been about 100 percent overall increase [in graffiti],”.... coincidentally since the stranger's article about graffiti cleanup in freeway park.

Posted by j bomb | April 9, 2008 4:54 PM

Isn't Freeway Park already part of the Topography of Terror? Who goes there besides taggers, rapists and murderers?

Posted by Evil | April 9, 2008 4:56 PM

@2 - my friends do. And since they're women and not any of the three categories, why can't they use the park?

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 9, 2008 4:58 PM

Freeway Park is beautiful and lovely.

Legal graffitti walls would not lessen tagging. Those jerk taggers have no respect for anyone but themselves and will continue to 'mark their territory' wherever they want, regardless of legality. Graffitti is one thing, tagging is another. I can't stand tagging.

Posted by me | April 9, 2008 4:58 PM

I was one of those callers last month. A group of skater punks where tagging a maintenance door as I walked by in the early evening. I called the cops but since we have so few police in this town, I doubt anything happened.

It used to be a joy to walk through Freeway Park--a real urban forest with sophisticated layering of trees, shrubs and plants. Now, they ripped out all the mature vegetationn to make it "safe."

Posted by Polka Party | April 9, 2008 5:37 PM

Speaking of graffiti in parks, I see they cleaned up the volcano at Cal Anderson but the fountain still isn't working.

Why are they taking so long to fix it so it won't get vandalized again?

Posted by monkey | April 9, 2008 5:45 PM

Correct me if I am wrong but someone at the Stranger likes graffiti, therefore the Stranger as a whole is pro-graffiti, right?

Sorry, I'm trying out Erica's rational for being outraged.

Posted by I'm a Nuclear Bomb | April 9, 2008 5:58 PM

I think we need a Taggers Wall, where we can hang taggers and color them with acid-etch paints.

That sounds like a plan.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 9, 2008 6:02 PM

Can't believe people still tag. Move on do something else. But then most of the tags I have seen are not great. But when they are an amazing piece of calligraphy it is great.
But mostly it is done by wannabe untalented wankers.

Posted by -B- | April 9, 2008 6:23 PM

Pass a law making it officially legal to tag as you will in skate parks, once they are built that is.
Another idea: legalize tagging freeway center jersey barriers or heck, even the pavement.

Posted by kinaidos | April 9, 2008 6:36 PM

@3 Did you miss the oblique reference to Mudede's piece on this park?

Posted by Evil | April 9, 2008 6:40 PM

Fuckers tagged all up and down Madison Valley last weekend. Hit most of the buildings and fences between Lake Washington Blvd and 23rd. "Nibs", whoever you are, you deserve to have your hands lopped off.

Posted by hate taggers | April 9, 2008 7:05 PM

If we were talking about some feathers strewn about Freeway Park, SPD would have found all sorts of staff, and overtime hours, to deal with "the problem"...

Posted by COMTE | April 9, 2008 9:42 PM

There's certainly been an explosion of tagging in the Greenwood/Phinney area in the last couple of months. It's virtually impossible to stand outside anywhere in the neighborhood and not have at least one tag in your view. There's two or three tags that appear to be in a turf war around here.

Posted by tiktok | April 9, 2008 10:13 PM

Death penalty for taggers. Not kidding.

Posted by Virgil Lante | April 9, 2008 10:47 PM

It's not a coincidence that tagging and graffiti rise as ugly new buildings increase and the gap between rich and poor grows ever wider. Graffiti is a response to alienation. I can't afford a home, my education is a joke, and the space that used to be public has been sold off to private businesses and rich creeps. I feel shut out of meaningful discourse, so I claim the only space I can - I write my name on your walls. Whether or not you like it, you can expect to see much much more of it as this recession deepens.

Posted by Gurldoggie | April 9, 2008 10:51 PM

God, I would love to catch one of those fuckers someday. What is their motive? They are obvious cowards as they do it under the cover of night. If and when I see one of those bastards, I will run them down and soundly pummel them. Little fucking creeps!!

Posted by tco | April 9, 2008 10:51 PM

@15, you sound like a nasty piece of work.

Posted by Gurldoggie | April 9, 2008 10:53 PM

"Clasp" in Phinney/Greenwood? I would like to cut your hands off, and then empty a can of your paint in your mouth. Fucker.

Posted by Fnarf | April 9, 2008 11:07 PM

@10: Wow, that's strange. I keep hearing from skate park advocates and gullible city officials that there's NO connection between skate parks and bad behavior of any kind. Are you saying there's an actual link between skate parks and graffiti?

Posted by Shocking | April 9, 2008 11:19 PM

For what it cost city employees to clean graffiti last year, we could have paid for several new bus routes.

And for what it cost private property owners to clean up, we could have funded several dozen new routes.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, or whatever it is you do.

Graffiti is not "cute", and in Seattle 99% of it is nowhere near being "art", it's just ugly.

Posted by I am your Mother | April 9, 2008 11:35 PM

@16/@18: From your @16 post, it sounds like you're a tagger defending your noble activity. Do tell us more.

@19: What Fnarf said.

Posted by Virgil Lante | April 9, 2008 11:44 PM

Virgil, Fnarf, etc.
Your whole follow-the-rules-on-pain-of-extreme violence attitude makes me sick and sad.

Haven't you ever been young? Or broke? Or to vibrant and alive places like Sao Paolo? Barcelona? New York? Graffiti is, among many other things, a form of social protest. It says "fuck you and your thieving system of private property." It's way more alive and legitimate than an email petition or a rally in the street, and it's a lot less harmful than your unhealthy over-reaction. As far as I'm concerned, it's also a lot less harmful than the average Abercrombie & Fitch billboard that also appears uninvited and unwelcome and a fuck of a lot bigger.

And you know how graffiti becomes art @21? By going through the training process. By giving a temporary pass to young people tagging and writing, and not calling down the wrath of god on dinky little property offenses. If the graffiti in Seattle is mostly inartistic and immature it's because people like you throw a hissy fit whenever someone tags a signpost in this town, unlike the understanding and sophisticated folks who live in Paris, Tokyo or Berlin, or anyplace that actual street art thrives.

I'm probably older than most of you, but I'm not too old to remember how it felt to be young, pissed off, and wanting to stick a finger in the eye of private property, the man, and uptight old farts like you.

Posted by Gurldoggie | April 10, 2008 2:17 AM

@23: The "private property" you speak of: Would that be Freeway Park, Cal Anderson Park, etc. You give these jerks way too much credit. This isn't teen angst, or alienation, or whatever BS justification you're spouting. And it sure as hell isn't art.

Posted by tomcat98109 | April 10, 2008 8:06 AM

Wow. I lost massive amounts of brain cells while reading #23.

Gurldoggie, you never fail at being a total moron.

Posted by Mr. Poe | April 10, 2008 8:10 AM

the Park Place Building (adjacent to Freeway Park) houses a childcare center. Upwards of 50 children play daily (when it's not raining) at freeway park with their teachers.

Posted by LH | April 10, 2008 8:56 AM

@16 - "Graffiti is a response to alienation"?

No, it's a pathetic cry for attention from people who lack constructive activities to occupy their free time.

Posted by Hernandez | April 10, 2008 8:58 AM

I guess I've never understood the opposition to bringing a little color to some ugly ass slab of concrete.
Tags don't bother me, especially the good ones... And when I see a big ass full color piece up on a wall or a train car or a rooftop it makes my little heart smile.

Posted by Queen_of_Sleaze | April 10, 2008 9:33 AM

Gurldoggie, you may be older than most of us (though I'd say that's a dubious assumption), but you apparently still think like a punk kid without a fully formed cerebral cortex. What you call "uptight old farts" are actually people who GREW OUT of the notion that pointless, ugly, narcissistic vandalism has anything to do with "social protest."

Posted by Matthew | April 10, 2008 9:49 AM

Where to begin...
Do any of you think that anyone who writes graffiti cares whether or not it is considered art? How many graffiti writers in the city of Seattle even claim to be artists in the first place? Why do you assume that it is done as an artistic expression, maybe you should look into the names of the groups of writers (to people over 25: I'll save you the trip to urban dictionary, the kids call them crews). Very few, if any ever mention artistic expression in the names of the crew.
Usually veiled references to destruction and being the best and boldest at what they do is what you see in most single city crews. Stop trying to supplant what you want them to be for with what they are actually are.

The city of Seattle is already very unwelcoming to writers of any skill. The amount rainy days, the high penalties compared to California and the east coast (Seattle and Portland are notorious for the prison sentences), the lack of legal walls. A lot of artistically endowed local writers move to other states to pursue their graffiti and artistic futures because there is nowhere here to practice and there what like 5 murals in the city. Without a somewhat tolerating community you are left with a few types of graffiti purveyors: High School (usually white and rich), people that just like to destruct, and people that love the letter style and culture. I can’t speak for any specific individual’s reason to write graffiti and my heads not so far up my own ass to think that I should.

Finally to all of you that are claiming that these peoples quest is pointless or meaningless, they pissed you off. What if that was their quest? No grand illusions about beating the system or making the world a prettier place, they want you to be unhappy and that makes them laugh and smile. You with the nice house with the fence and the Volvo complete with annoying kids you named Brooklyn, Ayden, Meadow, something stupid you thought would make you stand out like everybody else. Whether it is a freeway overpass, the top of a building, the busiest corner, in the middle of nowhere, or on your door/fence/store, it makes a lot (not all) of graffiti writers happy to make you angry. You want to bitch, bitch to me. You want the whole history lesson on Seattle I’ll give it to you, just tell me when. There are no turf wars in Seattle(currently), the big crews moved on long ago, it’s still rainy season that means no big pieces or out of towners until summer. In the end they write on physical surfaces risking life and limb and jail time to do something they love. You post on the message board of a blog hidden behind a screen name to feel better about yourself and vent; do you think that they go to bed in the morning in envy of you?

Posted by Greg Nickels | April 10, 2008 11:14 AM


All of us rider-builders down at the I-5 Colonnade bike park either were or currently are miscreants just like you. Most of us were the kids who were riding bmxs, trying to get people to buy us beer/weed and/or tagging the crap out of everything in sight.

So here's a request: please come down to Colonnade and do up some some more cool shit on the pillars and concrete. A bunch of you have already put some bad-ass looking stuff on the big retaining wall above the skinny drop on the upper DH line -- that "Shitstorm" tag is fucking cool. More 'o dat, please.

Now, to the little mutherfuckin' shitbirds who've been tagging the woodwork, ladders and structures that we've been building by hand as volunteers: we'll cut your fucking balls off if we catch you.

It totally fucks up the surfaces and compromises the structural integrity of our shit. We are waiting for you, and we're not going to call the cops. We got all kinds of nice tools like sledgehammers, pickaxes and chainsaws with which to tag your ass.

Thank you for your attention.

Posted by Flow Rider | April 10, 2008 2:32 PM

@23: Perfect. You paint a vivid self portrait on behalf of all taggers. For that, I thank you.

And taggers, not to let reality shatter your heroic notions of self, but did you notice in this thread the sheer depth of people's loathing for you and your shallow, random vandalism? Even fellow miscreants put you at the bottom of the miscreant totem pole. You're like the child molesters in prison. People are itching to find one of you and make an example of you, and you'd better hope it's the cops and not the builders at Colonnade park.

Know this fear the next time you're walking around with paint cans rattling in your backpack, looking for something of value to destroy.

Posted by Virgil Lante | April 10, 2008 3:15 PM

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