Blog Post

Pearl District: Model For Graffiti Free Zones

Posted By johntarantino1 on October 16, 2010

  • Blog, Livability, Pearl News

Jan Valentine, Livability Chair of PDNA on the left, Marcia Dennis, the city's Graffiti Abatement Coordinator on the right

A graffiti free zone is an area that is declared graffiti free. Although the Pearl District has not been declared a “Graffiti Free Zone,” it may be well on its way. Jan Valentine, the chair of the PDNA’s Livability Committee, has done something in Portland that has never been done before. She has garnered enough volunteers to adopt every block in the Pearl District boundaries to keep graffiti at bay. Each volunteer was given green cleaning supplies donated by the city of Portland and an orange “Graffiti Buster’s” vest to keep an eye on the blocks that individuals and businesses have committed to maintain, with some people and businesses adopting several blocks.

In Los Angeles (link to article here), a similar project was undertaken with the same vision and scope as the PDNA. The “Graffiti-Free Zone” project was a team effort that targeted a one-mile square area in Los Angeles’ Central Avenue neighborhood where, for years, heavy graffiti plagued the buildings and served as a daily visual reminder to the community of its struggles with gangs, violence, vandalism and crime. If the people who adopted blocks for graffiti abatement in the Pearl District continue to remove graffiti on a regular basis, perhaps the neighborhood could be declared a graffiti free zone as it was in Los Angeles.

This partnership with the PDNA, residents, and businesses helps to embody the community spirit. The program brings together a diverse group of youth and adults committed to a comprehensive graffiti abatement strategy designed to increase neighborhood safety and beauty.

The graffiti cleanup effort started with two graffiti cleanup events over the summer. They brought out 60 volunteers in June, and 78 volunteers in July. It inspired Jan Valentine to think bigger. Now each volunteer will report their volunteer hours to the PDNA who will then give those statistics over to city.

This is one of many projects that the Livability Committee works on in the neighborhood and if you are interested in becoming a volunteer, contact Jan Valentine –

Author: johntarantino1

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