Portland recently put up on Instagram the announcement of a new partnership to take care of graffiti in the city. The response was surprising.

Portland posted what I'm sure they thought was some good news of a new partnership offering the removal of graffiti from private properties in the city. It was the announcement of Audet Enterprises taking over as of January 1.

We’d like to remind everybody that our goal here is to create civil conversations in reaction to our updates.

The post went on to thank LearningWorks for their 15 years together with Portland and their help in transitioning. The Instagram post pointed to how you can report any and all graffiti and have it removed for no cost!

After just a few hours of being posted the comments started to roll in and they were anything but positive. The negativity was visceral.

  • wast of money
  • thumbs down
  • depressing what the city prioritizes
  • take care of the homeless in Portland instead
  • leave it alone, it adds character.
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The comments were so negative that Portland had to amend their original post hours later to add:

We’d like to remind everybody that our goal here is to create civil conversations in reaction to our updates.

In a city of our size, there are multiple priorities and initiatives being addressed at the same time. As we highlight these various initiatives in individual posts it does not mean other work has halted. The graffiti removal budget line does not interrupt funds for the homeless (our HHS budget is actually the largest budget of any department). The funds come from the DPW budget and are significantly reduced thanks to this partnership with Audet.

The City has a long history of supporting public art and will continue to do so, but we do not support unauthorized vandalism of properties. We have helped artists find commissioned public art projects + to create sponsorships for many murals over the past decade. Portland Downtown also has a public art program that issues grants for murals on an annual basis.

There are those that also feel this is a great thing the city is doing. I own property in Portland and if it was tagged, I would be so grateful that I could have it removed at no cost.

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