Ross: Downtown Seattle ‘rashes of ugliness’ will be dealt with in less than 45 minutes

ByShannon J. Cortes

Sep 6, 2022

I realize that graffiti will always be with us. But it’s always nice to see progress.

For example, I was encouraged by the recent graffiti on the retaining wall of I-90 at Mt. Baker that says “what is this about?” It’s vandalism, yes, but at least it’s in cheerful colors and it begs the question we all ask ourselves from time to time.

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Why aren’t there more positive graffiti like this? Negative things are so cliché – we can get them on Twitter. How about a few more “I love you’s” or a 20 foot tag on a retaining wall that says “drive well”?

But instead, we’re stuck with the angry stuff.

So all that’s left is a quick withdrawal.

And that’s why I wanted to take a moment to welcome the extended downtown Seattle team that we talked about last week.

They are quick-response cleaning ambassadors on specially designed tricycles, paid for by downtown businesses, who are on duty in the urban center between I-5 and the waterfront.

And their goal is to respond to rashes of ugliness in 45 minutes or less.

And it’s not just graffiti removal. They deal with a list of urban insults, including animal and human waste, excessive trash, spilled food, syringes, and the smell of urine. You do not have to file a police report. Simply call them or tick the appropriate box on the service request page.

And if you’re wondering why companies have to pay for it, it’s the law. The government is just cleaning up public property. Vandalism on private the property belongs to the owner. The law of vandalism, of course, is against the law, but the law also says that for the police to arrest a vandal, they must catch him in the act. And the police are a little understaffed these days.

So a big thank you to the Clean Team, and to the companies that foot the bill.

It would be better, I know, to avoid graffiti to begin with.

My favorite idea is to cover all the blank walls with artificial ivy. But no takers on it so far.

So my other The idea is that since almost all graffiti is done by young men, we could all educate our sons to respect private property – or at least be a little less angry.

But I think faux ivy would be easier.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 to 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.