Volume 50, Issue 7 - July 2015

NewsAnalysis:GLASS RESTORATION

Oregon Glass Restoration Specialist Works to Change the Graffiti Game

Graffiti on glass has grown into a “huge problem” in Eugene, Ore., and its surrounding areas, according to glass restoration specialist Jason Carr.

So Carr is taking a proactive approach—and an ambitious one, at that—to help curb the issue, reverse the trend and hopefully provide a model that can be mimicked in municipalities across the country that deal with a similar problem.

The Clearview Glass Restoration president has spent the past two years locating glass graffiti across the area, taking pictures and documenting the severity of the damage (such as the depth of scratches), and estimating the cost of restoration or replacement of the glass.

Throughout that time, he maintained a database of the information and continually reached out to local government and law enforcement regarding instances of glass graffiti. His calls fell on deaf ears for a long time, but with more cases occurring and the costs associated with replacing glass, Carr’s efforts have finally gained some traction.

In June, he met with public works officials in the cities of Springfield and Eugene, and he’s now in the early stages of helping to develop an improved system for reporting and addressing the damage, particularly in public property where he says the graffiti “is often left alone.”

“We’re working with the local council of governments, law enforcement and public works to develop an updated database that both the citizens and city officials can access to report all types graffiti,” he says.

Carr explains that the new program will allow anyone to take a picture from their phone and enter the address in a website that will track the damage.

“Law enforcement and public agencies will receive the information, and a swift approach can be taken to remove it quickly,” he says. “Removing the graffiti as soon as possible is the key, because generally the tagger wants to be seen by their mark.

“The database compiles the images and locations, and law enforcement are able to see identifying marks in the tag, almost like a signature, which will help find the person behind the graffiti.”

So where does scratch removal come in?

To jump-start the program, Clearview Glass Restoration plans to do a few pro bono projects to show city officials and council members just how effective glass scratch removal and restoration can be, and how it’s a cost-effective alternative to replacing glass.

Over time, Carr hopes to develop a training program with the cities’ maintenance departments on the process of glass restoration. Though he recognizes that this will take a lot of work, time and attention, he says Clearview would ideally train one or two key people on the staff.

“The cities already have an individual that manages graffiti on walls and paint, but not glass, and it would be great to see them trained in glass restoration or hire a new employee to be trained by us,” he says. “The funds normally used to replace glass could then be used to employ a local person and provide a great career in the glass-restoration field.”

That goal is further down the road, but for now, Carr hopes that more efficient glass graffiti reporting, coupled with an increased awareness of the capabilities of glass scratch repair and restoration, can help clean up the area.
The newly updated reporting program and database could be finished as early as mid-summer, and Carr wants to complete a couple of pro bono demonstrations by then so more progress can be made by the fall.

—Nick St. Denis

USG
Copyright 2015 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.