By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
The City of Madras is taking a novel approach to combatting problems with graffiti.
It is designating a place where people can express themselves with spray paint.
They are going to convert a small publicly owned building into a space where anybody can paint what they want, within limits.
“No derogatory symbols, no bad language, nothing of phallic nature, no gang symbols, that sort of thing,” said Jeff Hurd, Madras Public Works Director.
The building and lot at the corner of “G” and 4th streets was donated to the City by TS & S Ford in Madras after the auto dealer moved to a new location.
The City uses the lot for overflow parking, but the old sales office sits idle.
“There was a request to have a location where folks could express themselves artistically with spray paint cans,” Hurd said.
The idea is people may be less inclined to spray graffiti on other buildings, sidewalks, and street signs if there is a designated location where the activity approved.
“I think it’s worth a try,” said Madras resident Stanley Nakashin. “A lot of our units facing out have a lot of writing on the walls, a lot of tags and things. If this would cut it down, that would be fantastic.”
The public painting project is slated to begin in June.
First the old car sales office’s windows, doors and service connections will be removed and the building converted into a blank cube or canvas for people to paint on.
“There’s no guarantee that if you paint something on here that it’s going to stay,” Hurd said. “I just want everybody to be aware that it’s public property and you don’t own the right to the art that you put on here. It could get covered up at any time.”