Your property, your problem with graffiti in Hermiston

Your property, your problem with graffiti in Hermiston
HERMISTON, OR - Your property, your problem. KEPR has often reported on how towns struggle to clean up from graffiti messes using your tax payer money and resources.

For one city it's become too much to handle and they're putting the responsibility back on you even if you didn't create the graffiti.

Frances Watson looks into Hermiston's new way of dealing with Hermiston has a new way of dealing with vandalism.

Rod Sollars has lived in the same house in Hermiston his entire life.

He said, "You take care of your property and I'll take care of mine."

He's seen his neighborhood go from dairy farms to graffiti ridden hangouts. Rod does what he can to keep up his street.

"If you need help we'll go help you and the city should be the same way," he said.

Hermiston used to help, not any more. Burdened with too many random taggings the city has a new rule. If it's on your property it's your problem. You'll now have a week to clean it up. If you don't the city will do it and send you the bill.

Mark Morgan, assistant city manager said, "This is really how a lot of other cities handle it. It's not the job of the city to go on and clean the private property."

Neither is the cost or manpower. Parks employees used to handle graffiti. That luxury is no longer in Hermiston's budget.

So, what if you can't afford to pay for the clean up? The city has now made a change to all nuisance codes to include a hardship clause, meaning if you can't afford to pay them, they'll work with you.

This is something the city has never done before. They're giving neighbors a little extra help across the board not just with graffiti.

Rod says, "You want a junk yard to live in or do you want a home to live in?"

He's hoping to restore the look and pride of his town.

If you don't pay a code enforcement bill you could get a lien on your house.

Hermiston also made it illegal to sell things to minors that could be used for graffiti like cans of spray paint, etching devices and even large felt-tipped markers.

The nuisance rules take effect next month.