What is the Law on Graffiti?
Under state law, "unlawfully applying graffiti" and "unlawfully possessing graffiti implements" are violations and punishable by a fine. In addition to a fine, a defendant may be ordered to perform hours of community service in order to remove graffiti. A person can also be charged with criminal mischief, which can be a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending on the dollar amount of damage or restoration costs. These crimes are punishable with higher fines and the possibility of jail time.
What is Eugene Doing to Fight Graffiti?
Each year, the City of Eugene Maintenance division removes over 9,250 tags on public property, including USPS mail boxes and utility owned surfaces.
Traffic Maintenance staff routinely removes graffiti from the public rights of way. Examples include graffiti on traffic signs, light poles, light boxes, and federal mail boxes. The staff have regular routes that cover frequently tagged areas, including specific areas of town and bridge structures. Once reported, staff usually conduct a field visit within three working days. Gang-related, hate-related and obscene reports are dealt with immediately during regular business hours.
In addition, Parks and Open Space staff remove graffiti from developed parks. There is no funding available to remove graffiti from undeveloped parks, including bike paths in undeveloped parks. Facilities staff removes graffiti from City-owned facilities.
Public Works does not remove graffiti from private property. Private property owners are encouraged to remove graffiti immediately because prompt removal discourages additional graffiti.
The Volunteers in Policing program established the Huckleberry Patrol Team, a volunteer-driven graffiti abatement effort. The team locates, documents, and removes graffiti primarily on private property in midtown Eugene (11th to 15th, Charnelton to Ferry) and surrounding blocks. The program runs April to November, depending on the weather.
How Does Public Works Remove Graffiti?
Public Works uses several methods for graffiti removal, picking the best one for each tag and surface. Choices include a hot water pressure washer, paint, replacement of the item that was vandalized, cloth and elbow grease, and an environmentally friendly chemical.
What to Do About Graffiti?
Property owners are encouraged to remove or paint over it immediately. Local paint stores can provide helpful information and materials to remove graffiti.
- To report graffiti as a crime (criminal mischief) or to report graffiti as a potential bias crime, call the Eugene Police non-emergency number at 541-682-5111.
- To report graffiti that is in the public rights of way or in developed parks, call Eugene Public Works Maintenance and Parks and Open Space divisions at 541-682-4800.
- To report graffiti on City-owned buildings, contact the City’s Facilities Department at 541-682-2690.
- To report graffiti in midtown Eugene (11th to 15th, Charnelton to Ferry) and surrounding blocks, or to contact the volunteer Huckleberry Patrol Team, call 541-682-5355. Businesses wanting to participate in the Huckleberry Patrol should call 541-682-5287.