« Neighborhood, block and building: elevating new urbanism | Main | This is what's up, Doc: touring heritage homes, Mel Blanc sites »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Tiffany Conklin

"The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights."

Fred Leeson

I, too, have written about and studied graffiti. I see no romanticism in it. It is abusing the property of others. If the artists wish to decorate themselves or their personal property with tattoos or graffiti, that's their choice. Otherwise, it should be removed immediately.

Wes Shoger

1) I don't think graffiti has anything to do with the economy. Even in good times its prevalence is rampant. I was walking around the Eastside last week and noticed quite a few vacant buildings and for lease signs. Naturally, the local "creative class" seems to enjoy tagging these buildings.

Gee whiz, maybe someone will open up a shop and employ your marginally artistic existence if potential owners knew they could open a business and not have to deal with the cost of repainting their building?

2) This whole idea that ancient civilizations and cultures had graffiti, and that because they did, it's OK to do in our time is erroneous (cue Banksy's image of a guy power washing cave art). First off, that's a logical fallacy -- an appeal to antiquity. Secondly, we do not know the circumstances of how the art on those walls came to be. Graffiti's definition usually includes vandalism, without knowing if specific wall paintings or carvings were an act of true vandalism, how do we know if it was truly graffiti? Not all wall art is graffiti.

Anyways, I'd like to think the human species has evolved from knuckle-dragging cavemen. Oh, and the Romans, don't get me started...

3)The idea that a city neighborhood association has to take time out of their night to march the streets to stop graffiti nutjobs is downright sickening to me.

People keep telling me about Portland's livability. What's so livable about being victims in your own neighborhood and relying on volunteers to keep your property secured? That's just sad.

All in all, graffiti is a huge drain on Portland's economy. Let's assume all graffiti was absent in the city. I think the city would see millions more in private investment.

Until then, businesses will be reluctant to open up shop in marginal areas and residents, tired of being vandalized, will just move to Beaverton or Vancouver and skip out on rehabing that cute home. Oh well, it's bland, but it doesn't get your blood boiling when you awake to see your home or local business defaced.

If cities want to grow and stop the catabolic and environmental catastrophe called sprawl, I'd suggest they start addressing issues that truly affect livability. And graffiti is very high on that list. Who wants to live in a city with high property crime?

And yeah, that will take more serious prosecution of graffiti crimes. Who cares if you chase some arrogant, self-described (put a bird on it) artist?

Seattle and New York run circles around Portland's art scene and they aren't detracting artists from setting up shop in their cities with their tough enforcement.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Lead Sponsors


Portland Architecture on Facebook

More writing from Brian Libby


  • StatCounter
Blog powered by Typepad

Paperblogs Network

Google Analytics

  • Google Analytics

Awards & Honors