Chapter 8.20


8.20.010    Graffiti deemed nuisance.

8.20.020    Definitions.

8.20.030    Graffiti prohibited.

8.20.040    Graffiti—Notice of removal.

8.20.050    City costs enforceable—Debt—Lien.

8.20.060    Hearing before the council.

8.20.070    Removal by city.

8.20.080    Severability.

8.20.010 Graffiti deemed nuisance.

(a)    Graffiti and other defacement of public and private property, including walls, rocks, bridges, buildings, fences, gates and other structures, trees and other real and personal property within the city constitutes a nuisance.

(b)    Although it is appropriate, where possible, to request that the courts require people who are convicted of acts of defacement and vandalism involving application of graffiti to public or private property to restore the property so defaced, damaged or destroyed, obtaining convictions for such acts is difficult because the offenses involved can be committed so very quickly and secretively that witnesses to the acts are frequently nonexistent.

(c)    Although the public should be encouraged to cooperate in the elimination of graffiti by reporting the same to the proper authorities, it is also important to eliminate the presence of graffiti from the community so that the product of the illegal acts of those involved in application of graffiti is not visible and the property on which the graffiti is located and surrounding properties do not suffer diminution of value. (Ord. 1377 § 1, 1998).

8.20.020 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings:

(a)    "Graffiti" means the defacing, damaging or destroying by spraying of paint or marking of ink, chalk, dye or other similar substances on public or private buildings, structures and places.

(b)    "Graffiti abatement procedure" means the abatement procedure which identifies graffiti, issues notice to the landowner to abate the graffiti, and cures in absence of response.

(c)    "Private contractor" means any person with whom the city shall have duly contracted to remove graffiti. (Ord. 1377 § 2, 1998).

8.20.030 Graffiti prohibited.

It is unlawful for any person to write, paint or draw upon any wall, rock, bridge, building, fence, gate or other structure, tree or other real or personal property, either publicly or privately owned, any drawing, inscription, figure or mark of the type which is commonly known and referred to as "graffiti" within the city. (Ord. 1377 § 3, 1998).

8.20.040 Graffiti—Notice of Removal.

(a)    Whenever the chief of police, or his designated representative, determines that graffiti exists on any public or private buildings, structures and places which are visible to any person utilizing any public road, parkway, alley, sidewalk or other right-of-way within the city, and when seasonal temperatures permit the painting of exterior surfaces, the chief of police or his designated representative shall cause a notice to be issued to abate such nuisance. The property owner shall have fifteen days after the date of the notice to remove the graffiti or the same will be subject to abatement by the city.

(b)    The notice to abate graffiti pursuant to this section shall cause a written notice to be served upon the owner(s) of the affected premises, as such owners’ name and address appears on the last property tax assessment rolls of Okanogan County, Washington. If there is no known address for the owner, the notice shall be sent in care of the property address. The notice required by this section may be served in any one of the following manners:

(1)    By personal service on the owner, occupant or person in charge or control of the property;

(2)    By registered or certified mail addressed to the owner at the last known address of the owner. If this address is unknown, the notice will be sent to the property address. The notice shall be substantially in the following form:

Notice of Intent to Remove Graffiti



NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that you are required, by Ordinance of the City of Omak, at your own expense, to remove or paint over the graffiti located on the property commonly known as (address), Omak, Washington, which is visible to public view, within fifteen (15) days after the date of this notice; or, if you fail to do so, the City requires the nuisance to be abated by removal or painting over the graffiti. The cost of the abatement by the City or private contractors employed by the City to abate the nuisance will be assessed upon your property and such costs will constitute a lien upon the land until paid.

HEARING RIGHTS. Within five (5) days from the mailing or from personal service of the notice of intent to remove graffiti, the owner or person occupying or controlling the premises affected may request a hearing with the Omak City Council. Filing of a request for a hearing with the City Clerk will stay, during the pending of the hearing, any enforcement or actions by the city to abate the graffiti nuisance.


Name of Enforcement Officer


Signature of Enforcement Officer


(Ord. 1377 § 4, 1998).

8.20.050 City costs enforceable—Debt—Lien.

Any and all costs incurred by the city in the abatement of the graffiti nuisance as provided in this chapter shall constitute a debt owed to the city by the property owner or person in charge or control of the property, and shall be enforceable as a lien against the property upon which such nuisance existed, in addition to the other legal remedies available for enforcement of debts. (Ord. 1377 § 5, 1998).

8.20.060 Hearing before the council.

(a)    Upon the filing of a request for a hearing by any person notified, the city council shall schedule a hearing and notify the alleged responsible person(s) of that hearing. The hearing shall be on the following issues:

(1)    Is there a graffiti nuisance?

(2)    What should the corrective action be?

(b)    The city clerk shall notify, in writing, all parties of the decision of the council. The decision shall be final. (Ord. 1377 § 6, 1998).

8.20.070 Removal by city.

(a)    Upon failure of persons to comply with the notice by the designated date, or such continued date thereafter as the chief of police, or his designated representative, approves, then the chief of police or designee is authorized and directed to cause the graffiti to be abated by city forces or by private contract, and the city or its private contractor is expressly authorized to enter upon the premises for such purposes. All reasonable efforts to minimize damage from by the city, such entry shall be taken by the city, and any paint used to obliterate or cover graffiti shall be as close as practicable to background color(s). If the chief of police or designee provides for the removal of the graffiti, he shall not authorize nor undertake to provide for the painting or repair of any more extensive area than the area where the graffiti is located.

(b)    Property owners in the city of Omak may consent in advance to city entry onto private property for graffiti removal purposes. (Ord. 1377 § 7, 1998).

8.20.080 Severability.

If any section, sentence, clause or phrase of the ordinance codified in this chapter should be held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity or unconstitutionality shall not affect the validity or constitutionality of any other section, sentence, clause or phrase of the ordinance codified in this chapter. (Ord. 1377 § 8, 1998).