The Portland Business Alliance's Clean and Safe program plans to pay a visit—along with Central Precinct graffiti cop Matt Miller—to downtown's art supply store Art Media in advance of its weekend "Paint Off Block Party." The event, planned for this Saturday, October 13, is "a spray paint demonstration by emerging Portland artists.
"Five local artists will paint on mounted panels outside of Art Media, joined by local DJs (Atom13 and Prophet Noize) and other members of the community," according to the SW 9th and Yamhill shop's promo materials.
"The problem is that even when these are legitimate events, they attract taggers," said Marcia Dennis of the city's graffiti abatement program, at a meeting of the downtown Public Safety Action Committee on Tuesday, October 9.
"The day after one of these events, the graffiti calls go up in a five-block radius," added John Hren, chief executive of Portland Patrol, Inc., the private security firm that contracts with the Portland Business Alliance to do order maintenance in the downtown core. "And this event is right opposite the MAX."
"How about we form a little mini-coalition and go and have a meeting with them? And just tell them a little information," said Bill Sinnott, director of the Clean and Safe program. Others at the meeting agreed with Sinnott's suggestion.
Art Media co-owner Dave Mosher hadn't been contacted by the anti-graffiti mob by press time. His paint costs $8.80 a can, unlike the $1 black stuff used by most taggers, he points out. Additionally, he is complying with the city's new graffiti ordinance by keeping the paint under lock and key.
"We thought about this event a lot. I think in some way, you have to find a way to embrace these things without making them negative," Mosher says, of artists who use spray paint in their legitimate work. "This is an art form, and to ignore it is to ignore reality."