Friday, August 31, 2007

Sign (214)

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Sorry, this is an awful photo, I know. I took it from inside Panda Express. The graffiti is on the milepost sign. (go to map)

Pipes (213)

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There's a few buildings not yet in the satellite photos, but this graffiti is on the back of it. (go to map)

Light Pole (212)

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(go to map)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Street Art: Iran

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This interesting site shows the locations of large murals in Iran.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Rock Wall (211)

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This is probably some of the more disappointing graffiti. You can paint over a boring gray wall, you can even scrape or touch up brick. But you can't really repaint nature. Over time, it will fade and the elements will strip it away, but until then, we're pretty much stuck with it. (go to the map)

Building Exterior (210)

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(go to map)

Building Exterior (209)

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(go to map)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

BPA Trail

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The BPA Trail cuts right through Federal Way. Its course is defined by high voltage power lines that run overhead. Fortunately, someone had the idea at some point to make it into a giant park. A wide, paved winding path meanders back and forth under the lines, surrounded by trees, brush and in many places, blackberry brambles which are currently offering up many ripe and tasty blackberries. My daughter and I traveled the section from the Aquatic Center parking lot to where the trail crosses 1st and back, about a 1.75 mile trek round trip. (From crosswalk to crosswalk it's more like 1.85 miles). We met lots of friendly people out walking, jogging and riding bicycles. In addition to the paved path, there are a number of unpaved paths that branch out. At one point, I stopped and took photos in a circle. It was slightly overcast, but it's still a real beautiful area and with the exception of the power lines, there are points where the only sign of civilization is the paved path and you can't even hear any traffic. There are a few points where you can see houses in the distance and one place where the trail backs up onto an apartment complex. And there is one two steep parts in this section, but we managed it fine. It really is a beautiful area and I'm kicking myself for having never ventured out to it sooner. Not too many signs of graffiti, but there were a few, which I'll post soon. I really do recommend this wonderful, free, good-for-you attraction that cuts through the center of Federal Way.









(go to map)

Building Exterior (204)

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Didn't have this shot when I put in the post the other day, so here it is. (map)

Damaged Utility Box

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I didn't give this one a number because it's again not graffiti. Hard to say if it's vandalism or if got backed into by a truck. (map)

Light Pole (208)

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(go to the map)

Zoning Sign (207)

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(go to the map)

Light Pole (206)

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(map)

Light Pole (205)

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(map)

New with the City (08/25/07)

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More graffiti sightings soon to be added, but it would appear that we've hit most of the hotspots. Please continue to send in your sightings.

In the meantime, here's some of the new things available on the city's website.

Public Comment Period: Proposed 2008 Community Development Block Grant Program (PDF)
The City of Federal Way expects to allocate approximately $558,345 in 2008. Comments due by 5 pm on Sept. 4, 2007.

Notice of Land Use Application: Nazarian Short Plat (PDF)
Subdivision of 33059 Military Road S near Hwy 18 into four lots.

Notice of Environmental Determination of Nonsignificance (PDF)
Division of three existing lots (3.7 acres) into 12 single-family lots called "North Lake Pointe" subdivision. Access from 38th. Ave. S. between S 334th. St. and S 328th. St. near Military Rd. and Hwy 18.

Volunteers Needed: Subaru U.S. Women's Triathalon Series (PDF)
Seeking volunteers for Sept. 8 and Sept. 9 (race day)


Washington State Auditor's Report on Federal Way


Tourism Enhancement Grant Application (Microsoft Word DOC file)
If you're planning an event or gathering in Federal Way that will result in more tourism dollars spent and/or increase overnight stays, check out this application to possibly receive money to help in promoting your event. Certain restrictions apply.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

In the News... Aug. 22

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Voters reject annexation
Voters in the proposed East Federal Way annexation area made their opposition toward incorporation into Federal Way clear in Tuesday's primary election. More...

Election Results
Following the Aug. 21 primary election, Hope Elder and Dini Duclos are the leading vote-getters for Federal Way City Council Position 7. More...

Curfew could curtail crime
In a move that could be viewed as stifling for some parents and teenagers, the city is considering invoking a juvenile curfew ordinance. More...

Festival Days 2007 promises a weekend of fun
Federal Way’s Festival Days is an annual community festival that will run Aug. 24-26 at The Commons mall. More...

Healthy living starts in the hometown
Federal Way’s wide streets, heavy traffic and sparse sidewalks often do not make for the most ideal setting for walking, jogging or biking. But with this realization, the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department is preparing to improve and extend existing trails... More...

Federal Way favorites I'd like to have, part 1
Over the past three months, I've shared my list of my 100 favorite people, places and things in Federal Way. The premise was that while Federal Way isn't the greatest city in the world, it's a pretty darn good place to live. But if it's not the shining city on the hill, what added features would make Federal Way a better city, if not a great one? Here's my stab at making Federal Way great. More...

The last two talk about parks and trails. Here's Federal Way's maps of park and trail facilities.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Building Exterior (203, 204)

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On the east side (rear) of building. Visible when driving west on S 336th. St.

Also graffiti on Pacific Highway S side that I didn't get. (go to map)

Light Pole (202)

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(go to map)

Fence (201)

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(go to map)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Taggers Aren't the Only Criminals... and Can Anything Be Done?

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Let’s say you’re dancing wildly in a public square in Federal Way. (Ok, as Pirkle notes, such place is almost non-existent, but that’s a discussion for another day or another blog..)

But, let’s imagine that someone is wildly dancing in a public square. Cool. Art. Street art. Performance art. Not hurting anyone.

Maybe they’re doing “the robot.” A little kazoo in their mouth. Painted all silver (YouTube). You might think you were on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica (Wikipedia). Oh, to have a pedestrian-friendly public space in Federal Way. Something worth mentioning on Wikipedia or uploading to Youtube. Perhaps Symphony will be the start of a change for the better, a Place Worth Caring About (TED). Sorry, digressing.

But, they’re doing the robot and someone doesn’t put money in their hat. So they punch the guy. It’s no longer art, suddenly it’s assault. No, no the performer cries. It’s art!

This is what amuses me about many of the people who defend the taggers, or the people who do the tagging themselves. They reframe the argument.

They cry that we’re violating their first amendment or that we fail to appreciate the genius of their art.*

*Side note: News for you, paint kiddies… nearly all the stuff in Federal Way is not art. Art may be subjective, but I’m pretty sure that you can ask anyone… this isn’t art. This is the spray-can equivalent of a dog lifting its leg to say “I was here.” And, news for you: If you’re feeling insignificant, feeling unappreciated, this is the wrong way to go about it. (I know this because there is one young tagger who searches everyday for his name on this website. They have no style, no artistic flair, but they make themselves quite well known around town.)

We cry “There’s a law. You’re breaking it. We don’t want it in our city. It’s vandalism. It’s costing businesses and homeowners money to cover over your random illegible scribblings.”

Side note: It's got to be a real pain in the rear for businesses to have to deal with... if it's the first time they've been hit, they've got to send an employee to Home Depot to buy a roller and some paint and then pay them to cover the graffiti instead of do their normal job. And then store that stuff in case they get hit again. Seems like someone with a compressor and four or five basic paint colors could contract with local businesses to be a rapid response team getting it covered over faster than the tagger could even tell his friends. For $25 or $30, (or a monthly retainer for hard-hit areas) they could get the job done quickly. And hey, feel free to use this website as a guide to where find businesses to contact to get started. Just don't forget to get a permit from the city for your business.

We said that it’s a public nuisance. It makes our city look bad, it is deterrent to tourism, a deterrent to new business, a deterrent to people considering buying a home in our town. It makes people subconsciously feel less safe. And it tells other criminals that maybe the crimes they're considering would also be accepted in this town.**

**Side note: Mr. Vause - my phone number's been up on the site for two weeks now. No longer a valid excuse. And if there are none on this site that you didn't already know about and that you've contacted over 100 notices (presumably all that you know about), and everyone contacted has followed through, how does this and this still exist?

What really amuses me, though, is that anyone who doesn’t like graffiti automatically likes white, grey or beige walls (comment #28 - near the end). Or that it "spices things up" according to one of my co-workers who lives in Tacoma. I don't get that.

However.... I do believe that our city planners and many architects (if they could be called that) have also perpetrated aesthetic crimes against us with the erection of boring gray, white and beige walls in the first place, not to mention some rather hideous buildings, homes and strip malls.

Side note: The "Common" is an embarrassment and a joke. The new theater is nice, but beyond that, what a horrible vacant waste of space. It's a shame you can't impeach someone for poor management because I doubt whoever is managing this mall could successfully manage an apartment complex. Step 1: If you own any other malls, offer discounted rent to The Gap at all your malls if they'll put one in here. (If you don't own any other malls - which I suspect is true - give The Gap free rent for 10 years. The Gap goes in, you get credibility, the kids come back, the rest of the stores follow the kids. Step 2: Demand more professional looking signs from all mall stores. Step 3: Kick out all stores that sell kitchy junk that doesn't appeal to anyone but tourists. Those belong in tourist friendly places. This mall isn't, they can go to Tacoma Mall or Southcenter in Tukwilla. Step 3: Parking garage. Step 4: Office tower. That provides built-in daytime shoppers and eaters and allows you to legitimately call yourself "the heart of downtown Federal Way." Step 5: Kick out all the duplicate cell phone stores. Step 6: Movie and mall-store banners hung from the ceiling. They'll add instant color and excitement up high for free (you get the studios/stores to pay for them) and their subtle fluttering caused by the HVAC gives you the sense of movement and life that's sorely lacking. (Or, plan B - Sell to Westfield. They know how to revitalize a dying mall.)

Back of Albertsons

Side of Goodwill

But... the opposite of ugly... Goodwill and Albertsons are two examples of rather pleasant looking buildings. They’re also landscaped in such a way that make them a less desirable target for taggers who will go on to something easier. Lots of building owners in this city who are tired of painting and repainting the sides of their buildings should take a long hard look at their property from across the street. It probably screams “Easy target.” and “Hey. I am super-ugly!”

I still don’t condone it, but the person who says “I made it better by painting on it” – I get where they’re coming from. But the fact remains, if the canvas doesn’t belong to them, then it’s vandalism. (Even brick can be ugly if it's a giant wall. But I think it's extra evil to tag brick since you can't really ever make it look good again.)

Can something be done? Perhaps. An interesting idea has been floating around for awhile… freewalls (see third comment) - places where large "canvases" have been made available and artistic expression is encouraged. Seattle has one that's pretty well known - Amtrak riders see it as they enter town. Perhaps Federal Way could have a few strategically located near schools and bus stops where graffiti already occurs… if we can build skateboard parks to give kids a place to safely and legally get their skate on, why can’t we create places where those that paint could legally express themselves?

I guarantee you, while there'd be some quick tags, most artists would bring it. We’d have something worth talking about, something worth showing off. Might not stop all graffiti, but for the true artist looking for validation and recognition, you’d see their A game.

As for the rest... I have high hopes that Symphony will be a signature piece, a beautiful cornerstone, the start of a vibrant and pride-worthy downtown, a destination. As for the existing ugliness, let's pray for the wrecking ball.

Bus Stop (200)

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This really speaks to my theory that must graffiti artists are bus riders. Almost eight blocks of Pacific Highway South are nearly graffiti-free despite some seemingly graffiti-friendly situations, this area is simultaneously pedestrian unfriendly -- no sidewalks, fast moving traffic, no bus stops, lots of large trucks entering and exiting the road. (map)

Light Pole (199)

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(map)

Utility Box (198)

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(map)

Building Exterior (197)

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(map)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Business Sign (196)

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(map)

Light Pole (195)

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(go to the map)

Light Pole (194)

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(map)

Temporary Wall Art

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THECOOLHUNTER.NET -- A 3-month-old French company has introduced wall adhesives for kids' rooms. More...

Letter: Please Encourage Volunteerism

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FWG welcomes your thoughts and comments. Email us at federalwaygraffiti@gmail.com or click on the "comments" link at the bottom of any posting. Of course, all postings are moderated to prevent online graffiti.



Please Encourage Volunteerism

Hi,
I love the website, thank you for taking such an active interest in promoting our city.

Would you mind encouraging volunteering for clean up? I have had the opportunity to do it the last few weekends, in a city provided van and with city provided supplies. Every time I've been out, someone has stopped to thank me -- so there are many people who share our disdain for this behavior.

The city has a volunteer coordinator, as you probably know. Besides the part-time person, I know there are police recruits who have also been helping with the clean up efforts during the week. But there is a lot of work, and probably very limited budgeting.

Thanks,
CH

Ed.: I asked CH if the painting would be limited to city property, or if you could borrow the van, take some paint and cover over stuff on business/personal property (with their permission). They respond:

Yes, that is correct. It does limit greatly the amount that you can get done.

The city does have property owner forms for private residences and/or commercial. But I think they city leaders are wrestling with the long term implications (expenses!) if they start cleaning up private property.

It is a bad situation for everyone, and I know the city hates to push the victims of the crimes to clean it up. But I think the fear is graffiti tends to encourage more graffiti. So quick clean up is critical.

Believe me, I really wish we could do private property. The F the police on the old Target building is the first one I'd clean.

I think the city is open to additional scheduled 'clean up days'... you may have had a part in the previous one. I did not, but it sounded like a success. I think in these events private property would be done, but the permission forms would have to be received before hand.

Thanks again for the interest. Hopefully increased attention will help us to win. I loved the comment on your blog from the police officer. Hopefully he/she was hinting at an arrest.

Thanks,
CH

Ed.: I actually called the volunteer coordinator, got the voicemail, left a message, wanting to participate in the last one. Never heard back. When they reported in the FWM after the fact and quoted the police spokesperson Stacey Flores, I emailed him/her to say that I had tried to volunteer and never heard back and that I was interested in the next one, but never heard back from them either. The officer was probably referring to the events covered in this FWM article.

Letter: NYT Inspires County Health District

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FWG welcomes your thoughts and comments. Email us at federalwaygraffiti@gmail.com or click on the "comments" link at the bottom of any posting. Of course, all postings are moderated to prevent online graffiti.



NYT Inspires County Health District

Hello,

I was so impressed with your Google Maps site (featured in the New York Times) that I’m trying to create one myself of blighted properties that my health department is dealing with. Here’s what I have so far: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=116689510819615921286.00043694067fcd4073bcb&ll=41.04052,-80.80925&spn=0.364601,0.63858&z=11&om=1

Matthew A. Stefanak, M.P.H.
Health Commissioner
General Health District of Mahoning County

Under the Overpass (85)

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On 8/15, JW writes: Fresh graffiti at the 288th St. and I-5 overpass (map). They just painted over some but there is new stuff there today.. Does the city and county have to abide by the same 72-hour removal law as businesses and citizens do?? I always see graffiti on Pac Highway between 272nd and 288th. I am afraid we always will until the courts and people say enough is enough... They need more than a slap on the wrist.. Who likes living in a slum, which Federal Way has become...

Ed.: Went out this morning and snapped some. There was more on the other side of the road but didn't have time to cross and get close-ups and the long distance snaps weren't usable. This does point to the fact that I need help. I need your reports of new graffiti, but I also need your photographs, especially if you live in areas of town I don't regularly get to! (Also reported recently by JW: Fresh paint on brand new retaining wall between 272 and 288 on 99.)




Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Realty sign (193)

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Perhaps we should be calling these realtors to complain about their signs. This one from April (before I was even numbering them) is still there. (go to map)

Light Pole (192)

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In front of Ernie's Gas (map)

Light Pole (191)

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(map)

Retaining Wall (190)

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(go to the map)

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