Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announces plan to address graffiti in city

Mayor Bruce Harrell says Seattle has seen a surge of graffiti since the pandemic, and he wants to devote more resources to cleaning it up. Thursday in the Central District, he announced a six-point plan that expands removal efforts while redirecting vandalism.

According to the mayor’s office, since 2019, reports of graffiti have grown by over 50%. In 2021, they received 20,000 reports of tagging and vandalism.

“Quite frankly, you don’t need statistics to see what’s happening in Seattle with respect to graffiti,” said Harrell. “The truth is the negative impacts are tangible, they’re not theoretical.”

WSDOT crews report it has been exhausting to keep up with the constant cleanup along the interstate.

“We’ve painted the same locations up to seven times this summer,” said James Poling, WSDOT Northwest Region Maintenance.

Currently, there are eight members of the Public Works Department’s graffiti ranger cleanup team. The mayor’s office wants to expand that. He also wants to invest more in filling spaces with street art as an alternative avenue of creative expression.

Another goal of his is to make cleanup services more affordable. The mayor plans to offer 1,000 abatement kits to local businesses and community organizations.

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