Pilot project aims to quickly remove Tacoma graffiti

Tacoma City Council is scheduled to meet Tuesday at City Hall to discuss the City of Tacoma’s Rapid-Response Graffiti Removal program.

City of Tacoma staff will provide a presentation on the development of a pilot program that allows for removal of graffiti from private property within 72 hours along key corridors. The removal would be conducted by an external provider under contract with the City of Tacoma. The program would allow for removal of graffiti up to three times on a site in a 12-month period at no cost to the property owner. Upon the second incidence, however, the City of Tacoma would work with the property owner to conduct a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) assessment and require the property owner to implement at least one suggestion to receive further painting services. The City of Tacoma would work with the contractor to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of the program and provide that information to Tacoma City Council following the conclusion of the pilot project.

According to City of Tacoma staff, last year the City of Tacoma’s Community Based Services Resource Team selected graffiti as a topic for a team of representatives from the City of Tacoma, the Washington State Department of Transportation, and the Business Improvement Area to examine and recommend changes to better address the issue. The team determined graffiti is highly visible and has several negative impacts including lending to an unsafe feeling and blighted sense of the surrounding community, which leads to lower property values and does not encourage investment in the city. The team also explored multiple options for improving the City of Tacoma’s approach to graffiti, including installing cameras in various locations, changing penalty provisions in existing codes, establishing a volunteer network for graffiti abatement, and developing a rapid-response graffiti removal program.

Currently, the City of Tacoma’s nuisance code allows 18 days for removal of graffiti from private property, according to City of Tacoma staff.

Also next week, Tacoma City Council will resume its discussion of the 2013 Legislative session. In July, City of Tacoma staff provided councilmembers with an update on the outcomes of the Legislative session. Following that presentation, City Hall departments were asked to identify impacts from the passed legislation and to provide a timeline for those items requiring Tacoma City Council to take legislative action. On Tuesday, councilmembers will be briefed on these impacts and future required Tacoma City Council action.

Councilmembers will discuss these issues during a study session, which will be held on Tues., Sept. 24 at 12 p.m. in Room 16 of Tacoma Municipal Building North, 733 Market St. Audio from the meeting will be broadcast live on TV Tacoma and online at tvtacoma.com. On-demand audio archives are available on the Web within 24 hours of the meeting online at tvtacoma.com.

A pilot project in Tacoma aims to remove graffiti from private property within 72 hours. (PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

A pilot project in Tacoma aims to remove graffiti from private property within 72 hours. (PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)