Partnership with utilities could aid war on graffiti

The city is considering utilizing a partnership with utility companies and technology to help combat graffiti in Federal Way.

The city has shown an interest in urging the city's utility companies to be more proactive in fighting the graffiti problem in Federal Way, public works director Cary Roe said.

If the utility companies and city are able to work together, the efforts to eliminate graffiti might be more effective, he said. An agreement between the utility companies and the city has not been discussed in depth, but one option may be for the city to provide the companies with the necessary supplies, such as paint and brushes, to cover the graffiti, Roe said.

In addition to the partnership, the city is also testing a piece of machinery that may have the ability to remove graffiti from concrete, steel and wood surfaces, Roe said. So far, it has proven able to remove paint from concrete surfaces, Roe said. It will be tested on steel and wood surfaces next week, he said.

The machine offers functions similar to a sand blaster and a power washer, Roe said. It would allow the city to get rid of the graffiti rather than cover it up with paint, he said.

If the demonstrations and tests go well, the next step for the city would be to determine whether to purchase the equipment and how it would do so, Roe said.

The city is serious about ramping up its efforts to eliminate graffiti, and is making progress, Roe said.

Police link teens to graffiti at schools:

Two school resource officers caught five graffiti artists in action at 11:30 p.m. June 18 at Decatur High School.

Officers were alerted to the activity when one smelled paint and heard suspicious noises, Police Chief Brian Wilson said at a July 3 City Council meeting.

The juveniles are students from Decatur High School and Todd Beamer High School, police spokeswoman Stacy Flores said. Their ages and genders were not included in the police report, she said.

The juveniles have since been linked to graffiti located on Illahee Middle School's fences, walls, baseball storage box and utility boxes around the city, Flores said. Being caught painting graffiti is a felony and the juveniles could face malicious mischief charges, Flores said.

With graffiti now classified as a public nuisance, offenders face a mandatory five days in jail upon a second conviction. It is also illegal to possess items like spray paint with the intent to use the materials for graffiti.

Residents can call (253) 835-2401 to identify graffiti locations.

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