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DPW Kicks Off APWA National Public Works Week with Citywide Great Graffiti Wipeout, May 16 in Ward 1

Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Mayor Bowser proclaims May 15-21, 2016 DC Public Works Week.

(WASHINGTON, DC) Department of Public Works Director Christopher J. Shorter, Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1-D) and Brandon T. Todd (Ward 4-D), American Public Works Association Executive Director Scott Grayson, other DC government agency representatives and more than 30 residents and business leaders volunteered to kick off the first annual Great Graffiti Wipeout May 16, 2016 by removing graffiti from multiple sites in Ward 1. Teams of volunteers from Howard University, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the Mayor's Office of Community Relations and Services, Mayor's Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives, Serve DC and Seeds for Success at Maya Angelou Learning Center fanned out from the news conference at 631 T Street, NW to sites around the U Street corridor to clean graffiti from businesses and residences. The wipeout is the first DPW event marking the 2016 National Public Works Week.

Mayor Muriel Bowser proclaimed May 15-21, 2016 DC Public Works Week to recognize “. . . the services provided by the District of Columbia Department of  Public Works and the District of Columbia Department of Transportation [that] are critical to the health and safety of those who live, work and play in our nation’s capital.”

“The Great Graffiti Wipeout campaign will focus on Ward 1 for the remainder of this week,” said Director Shorter. “Our records show that Ward 1 generates more graffiti removal requests and is plagued with more repeat graffiti than any other ward. During the next six weeks, we are going to every ward to remove graffiti and illegal posters.” In FY 2015, DPW addressed more than 56,000 incidences of graffiti and illegal posters.

Councilmembers Brianne K. Nadeau (Ward 1-D) and Brandon T. Todd (Ward 4-D) also made remarks at the kickoff.

It’s important that we work to clean up unwanted graffiti and illegal tagging before they become a public safety issue, and the Great Graffiti Wipeout will help us address the problem head on,” said Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau. “I’d also like to applaud the efforts of community groups working to reduce unwanted graffiti, including residents of Georgia Avenue who recently held a successful graffiti cleanup day that helped improve a corridor we all know and love.”

Councilmember Todd, who, earlier this year, introduced the Anti-Graffiti Amendment Act to increase the fines for those who willfully place graffiti on a property without an owner’s consent to $2,500, was also present at Monday’s launch of the “Great Graffiti Wipeout.”

“Graffiti takes away from the character of our neighborhoods, adversely affects our business corridors, contributes to public safety concerns, and costs District taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars each year,” said Councilmember Todd.  “I fully support DPW’s efforts in this ‘Great Graffiti Wipeout’ – it’s time to clean up our city!”

APWA Executive Director Scott Grayson said, “On this kick off of the first day of National Public Works Week across North America, the American Public Works Association honors and recognizes DC Department of Public Works Director Chris Shorter and the entire Public Works staff, who make a significant impact on the capital City of Washington, D.C. and importantly on their community, citizens and environment,” he said.

Thomas Hart, Jr. is a local business owner whose property has been tagged repeatedly. He also participated in Monday’s wipeout. Mr. Hart has cleared graffiti from his property and urges other property owners to do the same. He also spoke of enforcing graffiti laws and the important role the Metropolitan Police Department plays in keeping the District attractive.

Assistant Chief Patrick Burke represented MPD, Jonathan Kayne, Chief Operating Officer represented the Department of General Services and Terry Owens, Communications Director, represented the District Department of Transportation. All three departments are partners with DPW to control graffiti in the District.

“I’m grateful to all of the businesses, community groups and government agencies that joined us Monday, and especially the volunteers who helped us wipe out graffiti along this corridor,” said Director Shorter who concluded by encouraging everyone to become part of the solution to eliminating graffiti. “I ask everyone to work together to continue to clean, and help stop graffiti in our communities. Hold ‘paint-outs’ by organizing with property owners to paint over graffiti on your property as soon as it appears. Report acts of graffiti if you see it.”