The writing’s on the wall: Spokane Valley’s efforts to curb graffiti seem to be working.
For the nearly three and a half years that Spokane Valley has had a graffiti policy on the books, cooperation between law enforcement, volunteers and citizens have mostly kept the city a white canvas. When graffiti occasionally pops up, there is a policy in place that, generally, quickly removes graffiti from homes and businesses, City Attorney Cary Driskell told members of the City Council on Tuesday.
“It’s been successful and appears to be working,” Driskell said.
In 2008, the council adopted a municipal code that specifies that graffiti is a nuisance. While it may seem unfair to put the burden of graffiti removal on the victims, other jurisdictions have found that, for the most part, it gets the job of cleaning walls and fences done faster. Those who don’t remove graffiti from their property face a $500 fine.
Still, Driskell said, it rarely comes to that.
Spokane County Juvenile Court system already has a graffiti abatement program in existence where young offenders are assigned community service hours by, with the owners’ permission, going onto property and removing graffiti with donated equipment.
Of course, going this route often means a mismatched paint job.
“It might not be a complete match, but that’s the cost of having someone do it for you,” Driskell said.
The other option, of course, is for property owners to do the cleanup themselves or hire a professional to do the work.
Graffiti on property where the owner is not readily available oftentimes means that Sheriff’s Community Oriented Policing Effort volunteers attempt to work out a solution. If nothing happens, SCOPE volunteers will try to get the owner to sign a waiver authorizing the cleanup through the Juvenile Court program.
Graffiti on city property is handled quickly through Spokane Valley’s public works or parks departments.
“It looks like it’s a good, well-thought-out plan,” Council Member Ben Wick said. “It appears to be working. Good job.”
Mayor Tom Towey thanked the SCOPE volunteers “for all their hard work.”
In other news, the council:
Heard a report on the draft developer’s agreement for a piece of property that could be granted a higher density zoning at Conklin and Broadway to accommodate luxury apartments. The public hearing on the proposed agreement will be held at the July 24 council meeting.
Learned that proposed Sullivan Road Bridge replacement project has been submitted for a possible Transportation Improvement Board grant. The city would likely have to come up with a 20-percent match if the grant is awarded, which the city already has in the bank through a federal allocation for the project.
Heard an update on the Shoreline Master Program goals and policies. A follow-up report is scheduled for July 24.