Graffiti Removal for Residents and Businesses

Portland has a graffiti problem and that’s not news to any of us. But what might not be known is that the City of Portland offers no-cost graffiti assistance to residents, small businesses and nonprofits who meet eligibility criteria. Those eligible for the Graffiti Program include anyone impacted by hate graffiti and most gang graffiti; single-family homes, condos and apartment buildings with up to 10 units; businesses with 10 or fewer employees (excluding corporate franchises); and nonprofit organizations with 100 or fewer employees.

In most cases the city will paint over graffiti. But it is important to note that they do not match paint colors. They will try to use a similar color, but the painted over area may be a noticeably different shade than the original. For unpainted brick, concrete or wood they may attempt to clean off the graffiti by power washing. They are not able to provide help with acid-etched glass or graffiti on vehicles.

To request service by the Graffiti Program, the Graffiti Removal Service Agreement must be completed and signed by the owner/lessee of the property, then emailed or mailed in. The terms of the agreement allow the city to enter the property to remove graffiti (unless it is determined that it is unsafe for them to enter) and it agrees that this work will be done free of charge. 

There is also a Report Graffiti form that needs to be submitted. This form will collect details on the graffiti, the location and requires a photo of the graffiti to be uploaded. The Graffiti Removal Service Agreement and Report Graffiti form can be found at portland.gov/bps/graffiti/request-services.

Once the Graffiti Removal Service Agreement and Report Graffiti form have been received, the city will try to paint over or clean off the graffiti within five days. Due to the current high volume of requests for this service, their response time may be longer than five days.

The city also offers tips on preventing graffiti, which come from Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, a method used by city planners, landscape designers and law enforcement to create a safer community. These include planting fast-growing, low-maintenance bushes or trees along the sides of buildings (i.e. Rosa Rugosa, a hearty and disease resistant rose); installing lattice-work trellises on the side of the building with fast-growing vines beneath them to create a wall of leaves; improving outside lighting and installing visible security cameras; and commissioning a local artist to paint a mural on the building.

Although not a city program, the Central Eastside Industrial Council has established a grant program to reimburse businesses up to $1,000 in graffiti removal labor and supplies or mural restoration expenses for businesses in their coverage area. Full eligibility information, application and timeframe at bit.ly/CEICgraffitigrant.

Prosper Portland is also facilitating grants throughout the city to small businesses that have sustained physical damage due to vandalism (i.e. broken windows/doors, graffiti, sign damage). Local Small Business Repair Grants are emergency funds that use existing tax increment funding (TIF) resources and funding allocated by City Council to provide support of up to $10,000 to local small businesses needing immediate repairs. The grants are provided on a reimbursement basis with no required match. Find out more and apply at bit.ly/PPrepairgrant.

Even if your property isn’t impacted directly graffiti, reporting it and other types of defacement to private or public property can be done by anyone who comes across it. This can be done by calling 311 or reporting it at portland.gov/311/graffiti-report. The online form takes less than five minutes to complete.

Graffiti Removal for Residents and Businesses

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