Tualatin extends Operation Wipe Out

Officials say the city's graffiti cleanup program will not need any additional funding

TUALATIN - The city of Tualatin's Operation Wipe Out, a graffiti cleanup program, is being extended through June 2007.

The initial 90-day pilot project taken on by the city in an effort to remove graffiti from private properties within 24 hours was and is a success, according to Capt. Jeff Groth of the Tualatin Police Department.

And the Tualatin City Council agreed to continue to invest in the program to build on that success.

'It's less to maintain than it would be to wait… for (the graffiti cases) to pick back up again,' noted Mayor Lou Ogden during Monday's council work session.

The program's cleanup aspect, which allows property owners to sign waivers allowing city workers to remove graffiti, will continue to operate within the $19,000 funding budget allocated by the council in early May. The $54,000 initially allocated by the council included funding for overtime for police officers to concentrate on graffiti crackdown. The continued project will only include funding for cleanup, though officers will continue to file reports on graffiti.

According to Clayton Reynolds, facilities maintenance supervisor for the city, the operations department has only spent about 30 percent of the cleanup budget so far. Reynolds noted that 55 private properties and 56 public properties have been cleaned up since the program began in May.

In early 2006, the police department had reports of more than 100 graffiti cases in the city. The graffiti sites appeared on businesses, homes and at public sites like parks.

In March, the City Council approved a graffiti ordinance which requires the cleanup of graffiti within seven days.

But looking to statistics and information from sources like graffitihurts.com, the council opted to take on a program that would enable cleanup within 24 hours. Operation Wipe Out was created.

'The main ingredient to success is the cooperation with the community,' Groth said. 'This was a huge success. This is a great example of community policing.'