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Portland graffiti vandals battle with police for ‘notoriety’ as government dedicates millions to cleanup

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As graffiti vandals in Portland jockey for notoriety and positioning on the sides of buildings, police are struggling to catch perpetrators. 

The Department of Transportation in Portland has allocated $4 million this year from the state legislature to help clean up graffiti, but the bill still awaits a signature from Oregon Gov. Kotek, according to local news reports. 

“It’s graffiti is really when it comes down to it, kind of no laws, no rules. Everything’s a fair game,” a graffiti artist in Portland told FOX 12. 


“I just think a lot of the new people started off just doing all these things, and just seeing stuff on Instagram and going out and trying to copy what they saw online. Bottom line, a lot of the new writers aren’t doing their homework,” he said. 

“Getting caught for graffiti, ain’t no joke,” the same graffiti artist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Fox 12. “It messes your life up. Especially if you catch felonies and stuff. So you’re out there and you’re putting out these risks. There’s some people that are dedicated like this is their life, like it means a lot to them.” 

“This is tagger-based graffiti. This is fame-based, notoriety-based graffiti. This is a bunch of humans with huge egos putting their name up so that everyone has to look at it,” officer Nate Kirby-Glatkowski told Fox 12. “We have graffiti vandals in the city who go out five nights a week, and they do graffiti for hours on end, and then they go home and they fill up notebook books with iterations of their names thousands of times.” 


Oregon gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek

“What we’re seeing up here is a pretty sophisticated amount of communication. There are a lot of etiquette rules about who can tag where and how you can tag, and what you can put over top of other types of tags,” the officer added. 

“It’s always the same story, you know, like us versus the buff. The people that clean up graffiti all day. It’s just basically a game of cat and mouse, and then you’ve seen like they’ve laxed on all the buffing and graffiti is going to keep going,” the grafitti artist told FOX 12. 

The Portland Police Department and the governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital. 

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