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Like all cities, Portland has a lot of street art, tagging, slap tags, vandalism, and any other words one might use for graffiti. And like other cities, considerable controversy exists over what is public art and personal expression, and what is destructive defacement of public and private property. Business owners are in a constant low-level conflict with street artists, taggers and other individuals, and often paint over tags and graffiti (sometimes creating graffiti that is even less attractive).

In reaction to graffiti seen around town, Portland City Code 14B.85 was proposed and passed by the city council in 2007 to control access to tools associated with graffiti, including spray paint. The code was also created to record sales of those materials, to be turned over to law enforcement in an attempt to connect sales to incidents of graffiti as vandalism.

The City of Portland's Office of Neighborhood Involvement includes a Graffiti Abatement Program for businesses to pay each month to have tags removed.

In September of 2018 a local graffiti artist named Mook was arrested in connection to tens of thousands of dollars worth of damages to ODOT property and has been connected to a series of tags around Portland.


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