Graffiti foes work toward cleanup

The group forming a battle plan against graffiti set a cleanup day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 20, with April 27 as the rain date.

Councilman Rick Drummond, who’s been the moderator for the anti-graffiti group meetings, with assistance from Councilwoman Cyndi Baronzzi Dickey and Councilman Clyde Brown, said they’ll announce where volunteers should meet when it gets closer to the date.

For now, they’ll be trying to line up as many people as they can to participate in the cleanup and iron out the details, such as addresses of properties needing graffiti cleaned up, contacting property owners, getting a liability waiver form in place for property owners to sign and gathering cleanup materials to remove graffiti.

“Hopefully we’ll have enough participants,” Drummond said.

Six residents attended the group’s meeting Tuesday, along with Drummond, Dickey, Brown and Councilman Jeff Cushman.

The next meeting is set for 6 p.m. March 12 in city hall council chambers. Drummond told a new person who attended the meeting that he’d by lying if he didn’t say he was disappointed with the turnout at the meetings, but said he’s thankful there are some people who are thinking of the community.

Some people involved in the committee couldn’t attend the meeting, but are still involved and working on different aspects of the plans.

At the last meeting, an email address was established where Salem residents and businesses can report graffiti at The information will be forwarded to the police department so the graffiti can be tracked.

Drummond said they’re also working on getting a spot on the city hall phone line where people can call in tips about graffiti. The information will be recorded and checked on a regular basis. They just need to work out the details on who will monitor the messages.

With graffiti, he said the whole idea is to get rid of it quickly. They’re trying to encourage businesses and citizens to clean up graffiti right away when it happens, but they’re willing to help out to get rid of it.

Plans call for trying to enlist the help of community service workers and boy scouts or other community groups during the cleanup day.

Dickey reported that Jock Buta of Butech-Bliss has already offered $500 toward materials and has already gone out with some of his people to clean up some graffiti. Group members talked about approaching businesses about donating products for cleanup in exchange for advertising the fact that the business helped.

Cushman reported that he approached Salem Schools Superintendent Tom Bratten about starting an anti-graffiti curriculum in the schools and was directed to speak to Cathy Sanor, who is the director of curriculum. He said Bratten seemed very receptive to the idea.

Dickey also suggested having students work on a logo for the anti-graffiti campaign.

Lisa Cartwright read an email the group received from a citizen regarding graffiti on Hollyhock and the fact that some refuse containers have been hit. The citizen thanked them for making an effort to tackle the problem. The group talked about contacting some of the refuse companies about taking care of the graffiti on their containers.

The group is part of an effort by members of the Rules & Ordinances Committee of City Council to approach the graffiti problem in a positive way with community involvement. The committee chaired by Drummond with Brown and Dickey as members previously considered an ordinance to force property owners to remove graffiti within a certain amount of time.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at