Monday, May 16, 2011

Two kinds of graffiti in Gabriel Park

First you need to visit Southwest Portland' Gabriel park on a glorious spring day like today. The billowing clouds, the fresh foliage, the rolling hills. And down in a draw, the skateboard park.

I've come to appreciate Gabriel's skateboard park as an integral part of the landscape's sinuous contours. It's as if the ghost of sculptor Henry Moore had shaped the site — and beckoned us to play.

So enjoy the park. I visit it three times a week.

But there are dark clouds over the park as well.

Sadly Gabriel is under constant siege by graffiti hoodlums. (They also hit Pendleton and Custer parks)

Two Friday's ago, they struck the skateboard park; three days later the Park Bureau's two-person sandblasting crew was out to remove the scrawl. Graffiti removal is their full-time job.

By the end of the week, the graffiti was back. One tag read in large black letters: "We're sorry about your wall."

If only.

On Monday, the blasting crews were out again.

And, of course, the clean-up is expensive. We pay for it through our taxes. I find it as wearing psychologically as financially.

There's another form of graffiti in Gabriel too. In a way it is more depressing. The same park officials who order the clean up of the messy and often obscene spray painting at the skateboard park, actually welcome technological graffiti that defaces the park. The culprits are known. We are their customers. Their names are Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and other cellular providers.

Not that we can live without their services any longer, but a tower like this prominent monstrosity next to the park can be hidden in trees or even church steeples. Two churches are just yards from this tower. Clusters of trees are everywhere in the park.

And just four blocks away is yet another cellular tower. Can't these industrial giants double up, or do they each need a prominent corporate erection?


Attention, Portland Parks and Recreation and Parks Commissioner Nick Fish: Thanks for fighting the defacing of the skate park; now stop enabling corporate vandals.

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Anonymous Amanda Fritz said...

Please remove the photos of the graffiti from your site. The taggers crave publicity and attention - posting photos on your site encourages them. I made the same mistake once. Now I know better. Please remove the photos.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Rick Seifert said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Rick Seifert said...

Thanks, Amanda, but I respectfully disagree.

1) I seriously doubt taggers read this little-known blog. Your blog, on the other hand, attracts many, many more readers, as you know. And your readers (who include your constituents) are far more diverse than The Red Electric's readers.

2) I believe publicizing the problem and showing its effects is important.

3) Taggers have been spreading graffiti regardless of what anyone puts on a blog like this. There's a huge disconnect between addictive, sociopathic tagging behavior and the contents of this blog.

4) If the taggers can lead you to tell me what to publish here, they have even more power than I thought. Scary! What else shouldn't we do?

5) Amanda, please address the other point (about the cell tower), which you have power to do something about.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous bojack said...

Graffiti is a form of mental illness. Sometimes you have to take it down numerous times before the sickos give up and go somewhere else.

11:58 PM  

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