Spokane C.O.P.S. plans to cleanup graffiti by creating graffiti coordinator

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane C.O.P.S is hoping to create a job to help reduce tagging in our community. The position would not only focus on getting rid of the paint, but preventing it too.

The organization received 600 reports of graffiti last year, not including any the Spokane Police Department got. Spokane C.O.P.S. wants to cut down this number.

“We have to start somewhere,” said Pia Hallenberg, who has lived in Spokane for almost 30 years. “We have to do something to keep this place clean.”

Hallenberg said this is her home and she wants to make sure others have the same feeling, but the graffiti is not helping.

“To me it’s vandalism, it’s destruction of your property,” she said. “I don’t want to live in a place that’s covered in sharpie faces and spray paint. I think it’s kinda gross.”

Patrick Striker, the executive director of Spokane C.O.P.S., wants a city funded graffiti coordinator to help cut down on tagging.

“How I would envision this position is working with areas in particular, whether it’s the downtown area like we’re seeing here. Certain neighborhoods that tend to get hit a lot,” Striker said.

The coordinator would help property owners get rid of graffiti, teach them why they should get rid of it fast and how to stop it from happening over and over.

“If you had the right style of flower bed that made it to where you can’t quite get up close to it, that helps act as a natural deterrent,” Striker said.

Lighting and cameras also help. The coordinator would come out and assess a building with a property owner to see what can be done to prevent graffiti.

Hallenberg believes the tagging can drive people away from our beautiful city.

“I can see that if you’re a visitor and you see something you’re like, ‘eh’ maybe we don’t want to park here. Maybe we want to park somewhere else, so maybe we’re going to want to go somewhere else,” she said. “And that’s sad because the best downtown is the downtown that’s full of people.”

She loves her neighborhood and will continue to do what she can to bring people in to enjoy what we have to offer.

“I just believe that we can all do a little bit to make it nicer and better. A little bit more welcoming,” she said.

Striker said the City of Spokane will help property owners get rid of the paint if they call 311. If it is on their property, it is their responsibility to clean it up. However, the City will give you paint and sometimes send a crew to help clean it up.

Spokane City Council heard about the idea on Monday at the Public Safety and Community Health Committee meeting. Striker said it is a matter of finding the money to fund the position, which would cost a little more than $60,000 initially.