Patrick Robinson
The large graffiti of 'Da Freak Show' that appeared on the south facing portion of the curved roof on the Admiral Theater has been painted over. The theater has been the target of repeated graffiti and some in the neighborhood are concerned.

UPDATE: Who is defacing the Admiral Theater?

Graffiti on the walls and roof have become an issue; SPD offers advice

UPDATE Jan 8

The large graffiti that had defaced the roof line along the Admiral Theater has been painted over now.

UPDATE Jan 6 8:45am
The graffiti on the Admiral Theater roof is likely to be painted over in the next few days. It has been there for some weeks and according to the Seattle Graffiti Nuisance Ordinance, once notified by police, it is the building owner's responsibility to remove it within 10 days of notification. Here's the full explanation from the City of Seattle:

Graffiti Nuisance Ordinance

"The Graffiti Nuisance Ordinance requires property owners to remove graffiti in a timely manner, or have the property considered a nuisance and dealt with through the 4 steps below. It was adopted in 1994 to encourage the rapid cleanup of graffiti and to prevent its spread throughout the community. SPU's Graffiti Prevention Program enforces the ordinance.

How the Graffiti Nuisance Ordinance is Enforced
Once a property has been identified as a potential graffiti nuisance, usually through a call to the Graffiti Report Line, SPU sends an informational letter to the property owner. The letter requests the property owner to remove the graffiti with a reasonable amount of time (10 days after receiving the letter) or be subject to potential fines. The letter includes information about how to remove graffiti and offers resources for free paint.

If the graffiti is not removed within the specified time, the property is declared a graffiti nuisance. The property owner (or responsible party) is served official notice, either personally or by certified mail. The notice must also be posted on the property. The graffiti must be removed within 10 calendar days after receipt of the notice.

If the graffiti is still not removed 10 days after the official notice has been posted, the responsible party is served a notice of civil violation and hearing directing them to appear before the City's Hearing Examiner. The hearing must be held between 10 and 30 calendar days from the date the notice is issued. If the graffiti is removed at least 48 hours prior to the hearing, the hearing will be canceled and no monetary penalty will be assessed.

The Hearing Examiner will assess monetary penalties of up to $100 per day, with a maximum of $5,000, beginning on the correction date (10 calendar days after the receipt of the official notice), or on a subsequent date set by the Hearing Examiner."

The West Seattle Herald communicated with Detective Christopher Young with Seattle Police Criminal Intelligence who is an expert in this area. He said he has never gotten a report on this before but said it is not gang related. He offered this advice on graffiti:

1. Report large tags like this to the police.

2. Paint as soon as possible.

You can learn more about graffiti prevention on the Seattle graffiti prevention page: http://www.seattle.gov/police/prevention/graffiti.htm

To report graffiti:

To report an act of graffiti or vandalism in progress, call 9-1-1.

To report graffiti noticed on somebody else's property, or public property call the City of Seattle’s Hotline at (206) 684-7587 or use the online report form.

To report graffiti that has appeared on your property, please use the police non-emergency number (206) 625-5011 to make a report.

Original Post Jan. 5
You may have noticed, as you drive northbound, and come to the intersection of California Ave. S.W. and Admiral Way S.W. that someone has painted a big graffiti on the upper part of the south roof of the Admiral Theater. This isn't the first time and it's got some neighbors upset.

Business Manager Dinah Brein said she has gotten a number of letters regarding the graffiti and says she is mystified as to who is doing it, how they get up on the roof and not really sure what can be done to prevent it.

The building itself is owned by Mark Gartin (who also owns the Bartells property and other property in the Admiral District). Brein runs the business. It is owned by her brother Jeff Brein. Her husband Larry helps by painting some of it out.

But who is responsible for cleaning it up and preventing it?

"Larry is a painting contractor and he's done what he can," said Dinah, "but they keep coming back."

It's unclear if the responsibility for keeping the building from becoming an eye sore is the sole responsibility of the business owner, Manager or if Gartin bears some responsibility. It appears that lately the burden for prevention has fallen on her and her tiny staff. Gartin, who owns C & R Electric in Burien too, said he would have someone come out and paint over the most recent graffiti.

The white painted walls of the exterior are also graffiti canvases but there's another mystery there. The night manager of the Chevron station said he's seen the "tagging" (sometimes gang related) there but then hours later, it's painted out by someone. Dinah said she did not do the repainting and does not know who did. The irony is that if the 'vigilanti' cover up people are caught fixing the problem, they can get a ticket from the police.

Just how the defacers are getting on the roof is unclear since while there are large trees just adjacent to the theater climbing them with spray cans might be a challenge, especially coming down, and no one has seen that happen. A more likely possibility is the ladders that lead to the roof of the car wash next door.

They are both blocked off by locked screens but a nimble climber could go up the back of one of them, and then climb higher. The ladders are there to permit cell phone company employees access to the cell tower that sits atop the car wash roof. It's still a climb to the higher roof of the theater but it's largely unseen from just below on the street. There are security cameras on the car wash but the employees have not seen any unusual activity.

The theater itself has no security cameras, though they do regular security checks during operational hours. But they can't be there 24/7 and the graffiti seems to be appearing overnight. They have tried to get the area neighbors involved, appealed to the police to help roust trespassers in the alley, but it's impossible to prevent their presence completely.

The theater of course is not the only building targeted by taggers. Others face the issue too.

Dinah said she feels the best solution is a joined effort by neighbors and adjacent business to work together and provide better security.

"It's a security issue really," she said," I've spoken with neighbors and that alley is sometimes where homeless people go, and people have told me they've found syringes from drug users there."

It's also where a high profile sex offender was arrested in October.

"We are planning on having a conversation with the building owner when he returns from vacation," said Dinah," but until then we will just have to keep an eye on things."

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