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The writing’s on the wall: Eugene sees spike in graffiti cases

The spike in graffiti and vandalism in Eugene is costing the city time and money. Here’s how the city is allocating its resources to clean up parks, streets and buildings.

Posted: Jul 10, 2020 7:06 PM
Updated: Jul 11, 2020 10:37 AM

Eugene, Ore. -- For those wondering if there's more graffiti in the city of Eugene, there is. In fact, over the past several months, there’s been a 25% spike in graffiti cases around the area.

“Because of COVID-19 we have more people outside using the parks,” said Eugene public affairs manager Brian Richardson. “So with more people out there, we are also getting more reports.”

More reports equal more clean up. However, some residents feel that since there are more people in the streets, they should be able to express themselves in a public manner.

“I graffitied a tag and it was in reference to my friend who passed away at 17 years-old. I wrote that tag on a wall,” said Eugene resident Steve Beauchamp.

Tags like that may symbolize something deep. But other forms of graffiti are just not tolerated, especially in Springfield.

“There’s been a lot of profanity and unfortunate symbols. It’s just not appropriate for children so we do our best to make sure it’s a safe comfortable place for all of our community,” said Willamalane public relations supervisor Whitney Hoshaw.

The Eugene Police Department has reported one arrest. However, it’s very rare that graffiti taggers are caught in the act. Richardson told KEZI 9 News if you witness someone painting or vandalizing, call the non-emergency number. Otherwise, if you see graffiti on buildings, streets or parks just report it to Eugene Public Works.

Although the Eugene Public Works’ typical abatement routine has been thrown off track, community members are stepping up to help remove the mess.

“We are really fortunate that we have people in groups like the Huckleberry Patrol, which is a group of volunteers who go out two to four times per week," Richardson said. "That group themselves has removed more than 4,000 tags. And that’s just this year.”

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