EUGENE, Ore. – A Eugene woman is on a mission to get rid of graffiti all over town, and she's not alone.
Mandey Chappell said what started as a two-person operation has grown over the last five years into 50 people. The group calls themselves Eugene Graffiti Renegades and they volunteer their time, money and hard work to clean up after taggers.
Chappell estimates they've cleaned up tens of thousands of walls in that time. She personally spends between 90 to 100 hours each week with her paint remover and scrubber. She said having graffiti around town can invite more crime to an area.
“Signs of crime encourage more crime. So, if it's clear that criminal behavior is not being done anything about, more criminals are going to act that way,” Chappell said.
Chappell and the other volunteers do their work for free and accept donations. She said it would normally cost around $600 to $800 for professional graffiti removal.
Tagging buildings is against state law and could result in fines or even jail time. But that deterrent may not be enough. Chappell said she will continue to remove graffiti, not only to beautify the city, but also send a message to taggers.
“Until we make it really clear that taggers are not going to have their work continuously displayed -- ever -- then they're going to continue to come back,” Chappell said.
Even with an army of volunteers, Chappell said it’s hard to keep up with the volume of vandalism.
“We can take it down about one-third the speed it goes up. We would need close to 200 volunteers to take it down as fast as it went up,” Chappell said.
Once she finishes removing graffiti, Chappell even offers to paint murals for interested businesses.