Yakima's anti-graffiti permission slip program has long way to go

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima vandals don't discriminate when it comes to tagging property. It's a problem the city hasn't been able to control.

An effort that's been going on for years is Yakima's permission slip system. You can give the OK for the city to clean up your property whenever it gets tagged. KIMA looks at how well it's working.

Brad Nieman owns Dependable Ladder and Garage. His business gets tagged about twice a month.

"We've been hit almost on every side of our property," he said.

Brad says the graffiti is discouraging and worries what customers think.

"They feel like the area's just not safe for them to come by and do business with us, or even other businesses around us."

Brad contacted Yakima's Office of Neighborhood Development Services to get rid of it. They did, and then had him fill out a permission slip that lets the city remove graffiti whenever it happens - no formal complaint required.

You can pick up a permission slip from the Office of Neighborhood Development Services. Fill it out and submit it back to them.

Or, you can fill out the form online on the city's website. Enter your address and zip code. Let the city know whether you want them to come over and over or just once. Then, decide whether you'll supply the paint or the city should bring it own. Finally, enter your name or the name of your business, and click "Submit."

The system works for Brad. But, it took Brad making the first move to ask for help. Neighborhood Development won't go door to door to get people enrolled.

"We'd need a lot more manpower," said Neighborhood Development Services Supervisor Orville Otto. "This office right now, we run with eight people."

More money could be used to advertise the program, but that wouldn't solve the problem of hard-to-reach property owners who live out of town.

The department says the slips are vital because the graffiti is spreading.

"It has been spreading throughout Yakima," said Otto. "It's even out in West Valley now."

Right now, the city says hundreds have given permission - a far cry from what's needed.

If you can't pick up a form in person or access it online, the city will bring one to you. Call the Office of Neighborhood Development Services for help.