Readers' Letters
by: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT Portland graffiti writer Swich31 (who has requested that his real name be omitted) paints his moniker on a wall in Southeast Portland. Taggers see their work as art, but the city is trying to clean up their vandalism.

Let me get this straight: 'Gime' had to be arrested 20 times before he gave up tagging (Stains on the Rose City, June 23)?

Obviously there isn't enough of a deterrent. I suggest that anyone arrested for tagging be made responsible for the restoration of the crime site. Make a direct correlation between the crime and the effort it takes to restore the site. It sure wouldn't take 20 arrests to get them to stop.

John Rogers


Use anti-graffiti money to aid artists

A thousand dollars in damage (Stains on the Rose City, June 23)? Unlikely. I could fix (the mural at Southeast 33rd Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard) for less than half that.

These are most likely kids imitating graffiti writers that they look up to. I dare any non-graffiti writer to learn the culture, put a can in your hand and learn from a real graffiti writer how it is supposed to be done.

As for 'Gime,' I have seen him paint beautiful paintings that would otherwise be ugly, gray walls. For what it would cost to fight graffiti for one year, you could just as easily give them a legal place to paint and embrace it to help educate young artist about the culture and how they can use their skills to better their community through murals.

Jeremiah Cowdrey

North Portland

Our street art is precious

Life is ephemeral, and so is street art (Stains on the Rose City, June 23).

The irony being that because street art is considered offensive, it is often covered up in a matter of hours or days, making it far more precious and exceptionally difficult to see than art in a gallery. Yet there is no better contemporary commentary on the state of current affairs than the work of the best street artists out there.

(Sorry, taggers, but your work is simplistic and nothing but vanity plates in a spray can; it deserves to be covered up with mismatched paint - a reflection on society itself.)

Gregg Mizuno

Northwest Portland

Public caning for all taggers

Why do we spend so much money locking (taggers) up when we have better and cheaper options - like public canings (Stains on the Rose City, June 23).

I say put up a stage on the waterfront dedicated to petty crimes like this, and get medieval on their hineys. More effective, less expensive, and it provides a nice day in the park for the family and kids.

Jason Stengren

Southeast Portland

Old-school 'writers' don't destroy murals

Old-school graffiti writer here (Stains on the Rose City, June 23). In my day, only 'toys' (someone who doesn't know what they're doing and gets no respect) went over public murals.

I know for some of you that makes no difference and consider all graffiti to be bad, that's fine. I just wanted to make that distinction.

Jelo Roc

Northeast Portland

Spray paint limits won't solve problem

Well, wait a minute, I thought that Fireman Leonard's order to have people sign and show ID to buy spray paint was going to take care of the graffiti problem (Stains on the Rose City, June 23)?

As was predicted, it just makes life more difficult (and stupid) for normal law-abiding citizens. Ditto for gun laws - the bad guys aren't even slowed down, however the average citizen has his life interrupted.

Stupid liberals, stupid ideas.

Michael C. Wagoner


Busker treatment varies by city

I have traveled all over the world as a busker and I can tell you it is different everywhere (Rhythm of the streets, June 30).

How a city treats its buskers is as varied is the cities themselves, but in general, what you play has a big effect on what the response can be. Parts of Europe welcome street musicians. Parts of the U.S. and Canada do, too. Portland has many musicians who have a great deal of enthusiasm perhaps, but are not always super-skilled.

Also, I consider a busker a person who plays music for a living as a street performer. A dirty street kid with his dog, piles of junk and a beat-up guitar, reeking of pot and lack of bathing, should not be considered a street performer any more than (urinating) in the street makes you an artist if you are holding a brush.

Bianka Black

Northeast Portland

Bucket drummers just making noise

Banging on buckets is not music (Rhythm of the streets, June 30). Those guys have to go.

Geoff Rode

Southeast Portland

Buskers are welcome on street

I'm so glad Portland has buskers (Rhythm of the streets, June 30).

In Santa Barbara, Calif., where I lived for three years in the 1970s, busking was not allowed. But they did have 'Musaky music' on speakers, audible on every sidewalk in the central business district.

Friends and I circulated a petition to try to get the city council to quash the Musak and allow good musicians (to busk).

It didn't work then, but hopefully Santa Barbara has wised up by now.

Marian Drake

Northeast Portland

Focus on more important issues

So street musicians (no matter their talent level) have to move every hour, but the on/off ramp beggars can claim spots for years without being asked to move on in any timely manner (Rhythm of the streets, June 30)?

Hard to believe that this ordinance receives any priority by local law enforcement with all the (other) problems on Portland's streets. I can hear it now:

'Excuse me, officer, there's someone mugging grandma.'

'Sorry, she'll have to wait while I ticket 'Elvis' for singing one too many verses of 'Blue Suede Shoes.' '

Only in Portlandia.

Alonso Enriquez

Brush Prairie, Wash.

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