For the residents living near Commodore Park, the graffiti is a never ending problem.
When we posted word that we were working on a collaborative project with the Seattle Times and its news partners on how graffiti has impacted different neighborhoods around the city, we heard from a number of frustrated residents in that area.
The Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad bridge that runs past the neighborhood near the Ballard Locks is constantly covered in graffiti and it seems like there is nothing being done to get rid of the mess. One Magnolia Voice reader says he has called BNSF on a number of occasions to ask them to remove the graffiti but he has not gotten anywhere. The problem has gone on for years.
This is a seemingly unlikely area for graffiti, with high end view homes near the Magnolia entrance to the Ballard Locks. It is also an area that attracts lots of visitors and buses full of tourists who come to see one of the top attractions in Seattle.
So why doesn’t the owner of the property, BNSF, just clean up the graffiti? Gus Melonas from BNSF says it’s not that simple. BNSF does have its own police department that regularly issues citations for graffiti, which result in a minimum $250 fine.
"We aggressively patrol our property and issue citations for graffiti,"says Melonas.
However, the railroad has thousands of bridges to monitor and the problem is that the graffiti often goes right back up the minute they paint over it. Plus, Melonas says the railroad does not have the resources to constantly respond to graffiti. Unless it is an eyesore in a very visible area, railroad crews remove graffiti only during regularly scheduled maintenance of the bridges. Melonas admits, however, that it can sometimes be several years in between maintenance.
Which is little comfort to the people living nearby or the visitors to the Locks.