Historic bell tower hit by taggers

We’ve talked to several area business owners who say they’ve seen a rise in graffiti around downtown Ballard.

Sometime overnight the historic bell tower at Marvin’s Garden on the corner of Ballard Ave and 22nd Ave NW was hit by taggers. In May, Art Olsen was handed a little red wagon with a graffiti kit. Unfortunately that kit is used to paint over graffiti and won’t work on the brick and plaque. The Parks Department is going to have to come out and clean it off. At a recent crime prevention meeting on Crown Hill, Seattle Police Officer Devlin Haag said that the detective who used to investigate graffiti was a victim of budget cuts. Now officers must actually see the taggers in action to take action of their own. Safety has been a major concern at the three downtown parks – Marvin’s Garden, Bergen Place Park and Ballard Commons. An exclusion zone has been set up for the parks and bike patrols recently started around the area.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

73 thoughts to “Historic bell tower hit by taggers”

  1. Just keep saying over and over.

    There is no crime in Ballard

    There is no crime in Ballard

    There is no crime in Ballard

    There we go, all better now.

  2. I just don't understand it. An “Exclusion Zone” should have prevented all crime, just like “Gun Free Zones” always prevent gun violence.

  3. Okay, what's up? It used to be these guys would mostly just tag blank walls and abandoned buildings. Seems the past couple of years murals, public art, and historical sites have been hit too.

  4. The fine needs to jump dramatically for graffiti violators. These taggers don't feel threatened by the ramifications of what they're doing. If the fine was steep, this would greatly curtail these events. It pains me to see all the graffiti in the neighborhood.

  5. The same individual recently defaced the entire main drag in Wallinford from Stone on down….

    Shouldn't those who tag over murals, and other artwork also be charged with destroying public property? And jailed?

  6. It's not just the parks that are getting tagged; I've seen a major increase throughout the city- even within residential neighborhoods. Seattle used to always seem so clean because of the lack of graffiti in comparison to other cities. We are going downhill quickly in this economy.

  7. I love MyBallard, however I don't think it's helpful to post pics of the tagging on the website. The punks who did this may very well be begging for this kind of attention, and laughing hysterically in front of their computers. If they know their “work” will get posted, they will definitely keep doing it. School is out after all. It's like sporting events on TV that pan away (or go to commercial) from streakers or drunken idiots who run across the field. Don't glorify this idiocy. Just a thought Geeky Swedes..;).

  8. Better to go with what has been proven to work. Increasing the fine will do little because taggers, being young and stupid, assume they will never get caught. Anyway, the danger of being caught is part of what makes it attractive. The most effective way to get rid of tagging is to eliminate the satisfaction that taggers get from seeing their “work.” That is, scrub off, paint over, immediately. It's creeping up from downtown B into the neighborhoods, and too many property owners are too slow to paint over the tags.

  9. This gives me an idea……

    Come for our Locks but don't miss the stocks! Coming soon to Ballard!

    Now proposed for Marvin Gardens’ The Ballard Stocks! That’s right some old tyme colonial era public humiliation for misdemeanors, idiots, and drunks!

    And for those who forget to bring your rotten vegetables and old compost, don’t worry we’ll have a community compost bin full of fresh, local and organic bits and bobs we care share with these boobs as we give these young aspiring criminals the public shaming they deserve.

    And for whats it worth, I am serious!

  10. Edog,

    What a great idea! I was thinking of a chain gang complete with shackles and manacles that would be permanently assigned to this district for cleanup of graffiti, open air toilets and love nests.

  11. I strongly dislike people who graffiti, and I dislike the people who call graffiti “art” even moreso. Tagging exists so some moronic thug with an IQ of 60 can brag to his friends.

    The new police policy about tagging pretty much ensures that these punks will never be caught. But even if they were, they'd probably just get a week of “hard time” in “juvenile detention” playing basketball and eating cheetos.

  12. OH! Call out the national guard. The numerous hits and posts these reactionary threads generate give advertisement selling power to the web masters.

  13. If they catch these punks, they should be forced to run the gauntlet down Ballard Avenue.with raw hamburger stuffed in their pockets..chased by wild dingos.

    A lot pf people worked very hard to get this bell tower put up, including my favorite teacher, Mrs. Davis (now 94) and it makes me sick to see this. What is ironic is that this WAS the site of Ballard City Hall, and the Ballard Police Dept. , complete with jail.

  14. Tags and graffiti are 2 very different things. I (and others) consider some graffiti art. Google Banksy to see some great work. Unfortunately the taggers are predominant because it takes less skill and can be done quickly lowering chance of getting caught. Taggers also often vandalize obvious, noticeable walls and objects and hard to clean surfaces. They are much more destructive than the artists throwing up mural type work because of the disposable nature of their tags.

    I wish that there could be a tagging database started at SPD to document the frequency, locations and damage of tags to use as evidence when a tagger is finally caught red handed. LA has been proactive and caught some of the most active taggers. They also have increased the penalties to the tagger as well as levying large fines against the PARENTS for cleanup at all the documented locations. Seems the parents started to pay more attention when it cost them real cash.

    I am very conflicted but maybe the answer is more security cameras. Businesses can install exterior cameras and cover their property as well as the street or public areas nearby. But I guess if the cops have to actually catch someone redhanded, video proof isn't worth anything.

  15. Or, white handed, as the tag illustrates.
    So, why have we allowed the police to become so impotent?
    Seems to me, as their boss, we could change that, right?

  16. so what does it take to remove graffiti from brick? is it something i could pick up at freddy's and clean it up this afternoon?

  17. It only takes money… Which unfortunately we have them on a shoestring budget. Although one could argue that resources could be shifted from less harsh victimless crimes. But then the moral police scream bloody murder, and baby jebus cry's.

  18. I like the idea of public humiliation and a big fine for the taggers (or their parents). Stocks, great idea!
    If I caught some punk tagging my building he would need some serious dental work once I had finished with him, then I would end up locked up!

  19. Chopper is correct – it takes a special compound and a pressure washer to safely remove graffiti from brick.

    The parks department has already come by to inspect and will remove the tag ASAP with their proven method. Please don't try it.

  20. That is a major drag. Those bricks will never look the same again. If it's not removed in the next couple of days, it will be even harder to eliminate. I know because I've tried removing paint from my house that was left from an old trellis. It's no small job, and many things to consider. Most of the masonry guys I've hired to estimate the jobs just say there's nothing to be done.

  21. Good research. (I retract the 'go for it' crap)
    It would be nice to get it gone sooner than later. I've removed lots of graffiti, from brick and stucco, and it isn't easy. It generally leaves evidence, from both the cause and the cure.
    I'd like to see it disappear like an insurance commercial does it…

  22. You are being sarcastic right? Cause if your not you sound crazy as if you are pushing for a “police state,” and if you aren't being sarcastic I hope you know what a “police state” means to given freedoms. Oh and by the way does anyone know where “chopper74” was when this graffiti was perpetrated; I would send a black and white to ask that guy some questions about his wherabouts.

  23. yeah tagging is a real poor way to “express yourself” – in my opinion of course. its like a dog pissing on a shrub or something. lame.

  24. +1 x 1/2

    Yes, the only thing tagging expresses in insecurity and fear.

    No, when dog piss on shrubs it serves a purpose. I've read, that through their urine, canines are about to communicate to other dogs in the neighborhood about their size, outlook, and mood.

  25. For those of you who think something will be done, listen to this – Two years ago, I happened upon two taggers magic marking the back door of Thaiku Restaurant. I sneaked up behind them, grabbed the main culprit by the collar and attempted to pull him into the bar for a 911 call. His accomplice tried to pull him away and succeeded in pulling both of us down the street for a block. I yelled for help from several passersby who just stood and gawked. Finally, the guy gave up his jacket and shirt and scampered down the street half naked in 40 degree weather, leaving me with his clothes, which happened to have new CD's AND his cell phone.

    I worked with the graffiti detective for two weeks helping him photograph dozens of this particular tag in this area. After all was said and done, the young male Roosevelt High School student was given a slap on the wrist and released to his parents.

    The only thing I got out of this was the knowledge that taggers are usually young, male and disaffected with very low self esteem.

  26. Kind of reminds me of the 'honor' student that beat the crap out of Tuba Man. Beat him to death. Nothing happened to that punk either.
    I remember when ghetto was a location.

  27. Oh I love these Tagger's. I know they are illiterate and can't read this post. All they can muster is unreadable gargin. If I had more time on my hands and no life, or girlfriend, or job I would spray ” I Love….” above there tag. I dunno, mabye its just me who can afford paper, carboard, canvas to do art on.

  28. Thats why stocks are a good idea. A few hours of rotten fruit thrown at them. And let em go, its much more punishment thatn they would otherwise get.

  29. I work on all the Olsens buildings and am constantaly battling the taggers….we need much more regulation in this area and would love to see us take after Portland a little more.

    I cleaned the tagging off the building as much as I could without knowing what I could and could not do. The tagging needs to be cleaned in less than 24 hours or we just see more……..


  30. I work on all the Olsen's buildings and am constantly battling the taggers….we need much more regulation in this area and would love to see us take after Portland a little more.

    I cleaned the tagging off the building as much as I could without knowing what I could and could not do. The tagging needs to be cleaned in less than 24 hours or we just see more……..


  31. Just saw two kids across from KISS Cafe in the parking lot of the VFW snapping pictures of graf on the fence on the hill behind the lot. One on a blue bike with a white hat and the other on a razor scooter.

    Looks like the same graf here.

  32. Anyone remember the movie Men at Work? A few of us Ballard residents get together, catch these punks, and handcuff them to their work in their tighty whities… enough of those pictures make the paper and i'd bet graffiti will subside in this neighborhood

  33. Love your idea, Edog. Need rotten fruit donations?
    Seriously, since these thugs (to call them punks is an insult to punks) are likely underage we probably won't be allowed to do that. Still a good idea. Very invigorating, tossing rotten fruit.

  34. Just clean it up. Move on. Don't report it on a website. We live in a big city where hip hop kids think it's cool. Okay? Get over it. Did you report the last 500 homeless doods who pissed on that same tower? No. How about when they shit there? No again? So just clean the paint off and shut the fuck up. This site is getting lame.

  35. Oh, and I'm not telling any of you to clean it up. So don't get your panties in a bunch. Oh, too late? Your panties are bunched way the fuck up?

  36. Also, because you're so wack to report it, you might actually do some good. The fuckers who tagged it will probably link to this page. So check your referrers, biatch.

  37. Are you the guy I saw in an altercation in the parking lot by Thaiku last SUnday during the farmer's market? Someone took a club from you, lots of FUs, one old dude on a bicycle circling around, the kids, scared to death by the shouting, shoving and threats?

  38. i agree with covering over/removing the tags as quickly as possible as a method of deterring future tags. but, that's only the first part of what should happen. Ballard needs to set an example for the rest of the area/state. anyone caught tagging should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. a zero tolerance policy on tagging is the only way to deal with this. if the tagging is connected in any way to gangs it NEEDS TO BE DEALT WITH with extreme measures, or it will only get worse and worse. trust me, i've lived in Southern California long enough to understand the plague that gangs bring on a community. that's why Ballard needs to take a stand and not let this get out of hand in ANY WAY. be the example that the rest of the state looks to, Ballard!!!

  39. U don't get it y – its a quality of life issue, I guess it covers up their inadequacy at dealing with their lives but the poor little snowflakes live in a beautiful place surrounded by opportunity and all they can do is scratch and belch.

    I can put up with a certain amount of mess but a significant increase in tagging ugliness, sidewalk-polluting puking drunks, pan-handling tweaking rednecks and night-screaming frat girls/boys are enough to turn me into Dirty Harry…

  40. There used to be a code of “honor” if you will between taggers and graffiti. Basically, you don't writing over anything that took more time than what you are writing. So you don't tag over a mural, or public art installation, or a burner (an elaborate graffiti art piece), or even a throw-up (bubble letters or whatever, takes more time than a tag)

    I can have respect for good graffiti art, but these taggers are ruining public art like the Henry truck, the Greenlake underpass, and now the Belltower. It really, REALLY makes me angry. To the point where I will probably lose control if I ever catch one of these bastards.

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