Graffiti: a constant in Kent

Kaylee Remington

Over the past couple of years, the city of Kent hasn’t seen graffiti get any better or worse, said Kent City Manager Dave Ruller.

This Saturday, two individuals were arrested for graffiti. Kent Police Lt. Jayme Cole said incidents involving graffiti don’t have a set pattern. It happens sporadically.

“It’s something we don’t look at very closely,” he said.

Taggers can be all ages, including students and adults, Cole said. If someone is caught, it is a minor misdemeanor and can cost $150 and up.

Sue Nelson, owner of Sue Nelson Designs LTD Inc. in downtown Kent, has made it her mission to remove graffiti on Kent buildings.

“We have been fighting graffiti for years,” Nelson said.

Nelson’s shop sells remover and receives help from Allan Orashan, a real estate agent at Century 21. She said those who want graffiti removed can do it themselves or receive help from Orashan.

Back in 2007, Ruller formed a group called T.A.G. (Together Against Graffiti). The group is no longer active, but Ruller said he knows people of Kent are trying hard to keep graffiti away.

“I’d say that property owners are working harder to keep graffiti off their private property and that seems to be working,” Ruller said. “(T.A.G.) held a couple of graffiti cleanup events, but for the most part that group has not been very active, and individual volunteers have picked up where they left off.”

Nelson said she tries not to let graffiti stay on buildings long.

“If you don’t take care of it, we will,” she said. “We aren’t going to tolerate it.”

City Engineer Jim Bowling said he doesn’t tolerate graffiti as well.

“It inhibits otherwise good people to change their business,” Bowling said. “It inhibits others to bring business.”

Woodsy’s Music-Audio-Video is a building that has been tagged in the past, and Nelson said she has cleaned up graffiti for that building.

“We get total permission to go on property,” Nelson added.

Gary Brookhart, an employee for Woodsy’s, said they usually see graffiti in the alley on the side of the store.

“Every once in a while we have an incident,” Brookhart said.

The one area that Nelson leaves alone is near the river by Pufferbelly. For now, she only focuses on buildings and said the river is a neutral area.

“We just don’t touch it for their poetic freedom for now,” Nelson said.

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