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Volunteer Levi Donnelson helps to paint over some graffiti at the old Buzz Inn location in Smokey Point during a clean-up day with the Arlington Graffiti Brigade on May 4.

 

The Arlington Graffiti Brigade came out for a Graffiti WIPEOUT day on May 4 where they painted over various vandalism points around the city.

The group was started by Arlington local Vikki McMurray in 2016 as a community-led effort to remove graffiti from the area.

McMurray and volunteers worked at a number of locations on May 4.

A couple of volunteers worked on the fence that is next to the Arlington Gospel Hall. "There's 10 fence panels that got tagged in the last couple of weeks there," said McMurray.

More volunteers worked at the old Buzz Inn location in Smokey Point, which currently sits empty. "And, of course, it's right toward the freeway so everyone can see it," said McMurray.

Other projects included the play equipment and trees that were vandalized at Wedgewood Park and the parts of the Haller Park bridge that could be cleaned safely.

"Not the whole bridge, because I won't put people in danger," said McMurray.

The group was started in order to remove graffiti from the town.

"If you leave it alone they just figure no one's paying attention here and they just do it over and over again, and we don't want that here," said McMurray.

The group  is entirely led by volunteers and donations.

Volunteer Jaelle Dressel helped clean up the fence near the Arlington Gospel Hall.

"Vikki has been doing this for quite some time and it's really awesome. I live here in the community and work here, so I just want to pay it forward," she said.

Volunteer Levi Donnelson said he likes volunteering to help the community. 

"I just wanted to clean up the city," he said, "It's pretty fun, I like it.'

McMurray said that she is happy with the amount of graffiti the group has been able to clean up over the last few years.

The beginning of this year was pretty graffiti-free as well, said McMurray, so she feels the organization has done a lot of good reducing the amount of vandalism taking place.

One of her long-term goals for the organization and the community is to provide a "living art wall" for those who want to paint with graffiti.

She said many of those who spray paint the walls consider what they're doing art, and she would be fine with that if it wasn't hurting the community.

"I think if we get them a wall that's long enough and high enough, then every couple of years we can whitewash and they can start over again," she said.

Although there would be the caveat that there couldn't be any gang signs or inappropriate language on the wall, she said.

The Arlington Graffiti Brigade has a public Facebook page at bit.ly/2H3gCUf for those that want to get involved or who have suggestions for spots that need to be cleaned up.

 

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