City of Spokane

Spokane Municipal Code

***Note: Many local criminal codes can now be located under Chapter 10.60 SMC while others are now cited under the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), which was incorporated into the municipal code in 2022. (See SMC 10.58.010). Code Enforcement, including Noise Control and Animal Regulations are located in Chapters 10.62 through 10.74.

Title 10
Chapter 10.60
Section 10.60.080

Title 10 Regulation of Activities

Division IV. Local Criminal Violations

Chapter 10.60 Local Criminal Code

Section 10.60.080 Graffiti Offenses
  1. Definitions
  1. “Abate” means to repair, replace, remove, destroy, or otherwise remedy a condition which constitutes a violation of this chapter by such means and in such a manner and to such an extent as the applicable City department director or designee determines is necessary in the interest of the general health, safety, and welfare of the community.
  1. “Graffiti” shall mean the unauthorized writing, painting, drawing, inscription, figure, or mark of any type that has been placed upon any property through the use of paint, ink, chalk, dye, markers, objects, adhesive material, or any other substance capable of marking property.
  1. “Graffiti tools” shall mean any tool, instrument, article, substance, solution, or other compound designed or commonly used to etch, paint, cover, draw upon, gouge, or otherwise place a mark upon a piece of property, including paint contained in pressurized containers (spray paint), broad-tipped markers, etching compound, or other spray devices or mechanisms used to propel liquid which contains ink, paint, dye, or other similar substances which can be expelled under pressure, either through the use of aerosol devices, pumps, or similar propulsion devices, and is capable of marking property.
  1. “Nuisance activity” is defined in SMC 10.68.020(H).
  1. “Owner” shall mean any entity or entities having a legal or equitable interest in real or personal property, including but not limited to, the interest of a tenant or lessee.
  1. “Property” shall mean any real or personal property which is affixed, incidental, or appurtenant to real property, including but not limited to, any structure, fence, wall, sign, or any separate part thereof, whether permanent or not.
  1. Graffiti Vandalism.

A person is guilty of the offense of graffiti vandalism if the person intentionally defaces public or private property, including any property of the City, by etching, painting, spray painting, covering, gouging, drawing upon or otherwise placing of a mark upon public or private property without authorization of the owner.  It is not an offense under this section for a person to engage in expressive conduct on the public right of way using non-permanent, non-toxic means, such as chalk or water-soluble paints, in a manner which does not obstruct or interfere with the public right of way.

  1. Graffiti Tools

A person is guilty of possession of graffiti tools when the person possesses any tool(s), as defined in subsection A of this section, other than non-permanent means, such as water-soluble paint or chalk, under circumstances evincing an intent to use the same in order to deface property in violation of this chapter.

  1. Penalty

Any person violating subsections B or C of this section shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

  1. Removal of Graffiti
  1. No person owning or in control of any property may allow the property to be used as a location for graffiti or fail or refuse to remove, cover, or grant permission to City personnel, or City’s designee, to remove or cover the graffiti from the property when so directed by a duly authorized City employee or its designee.
  1. Failure to remove the graffiti within ten days (absent exigent circumstances, i.e., inclement weather, insurance delays, disability, etc.) after receipt of notification is a class 4 civil infraction. Each day of a continuing violation is a separate offense.
  1. Notification by deposit in first class mail to the owner shall include the following:
    1. The street address and legal description of the property sufficient for identification of the property, or where there is no postal address a legal description or parcel number.
    1. A statement that the property suffers from nuisance activity resulting from graffiti, with a concise description of the conditions leading to the finding.
    1. A statement that the graffiti must be removed within ten days after the receipt of the notice and that if the graffiti is not abated within that time the person owning or responsible for the property shall be subject to a class 4 civil infraction.
    1. Notification shall include any graffiti removal assistance programs that may be available.
  1. The City may charge the property owner or the person in possession of the property the cost to the City for the removal or covering of the graffiti when the removal or covering is performed by City personnel or City’s designee.
  1. Any owner or other in possession who fails to comply with City personnel’s or City designee’s direction under this section violates chapter 10.68 SMC.
  1. The parents or legal guardians of any minor child arrested or found committing an act constituting graffiti vandalism may be jointly and severally liable for any damage caused by the minor to real or personal property, whether publicly or privately owned. This may include reimbursement for the removal of graffiti by either the City or the property owner.
  1. Nothing in this section shall affect the right of any person to maintain a civil action arising out of graffiti damage to property.
  1. Revenue generated to the City pursuant to the civil infractions in subsection B shall be used to fund the Police Department’s graffiti abatement program.

Date Passed: Monday, October 3, 2022

Effective Date: Monday, October 3, 2022

ORD C36289 Section 4