Tagging cleanup under way at boarded-up Boren School

Seattle Public Schools is in the midst of cleaning up a particularly prolific outbreak of tagging on the boarded-up ex-Boren Junior High School building (5950 Delridge Way), vacant after two years of serving as interim home to Chief Sealth International High School. Some had worried the building would become especially attractive to spray-paint vandals once boards went up over the Boren windows three months ago (WSB coverage here). Delridge-area advocate Pete Spalding noticed the many tags on the building over the holiday weekend and called it to the district’s attention. We took a partial “before” photo of just one of the many tagged areas (tags mostly blurred, as per our editorial policy) before it was covered up on Monday:

One issue that arose before the cleanup: If you see something like this — or any other maintenance problem/damage at a vacant school building, where neighbors will likely be the first to notice – how do you report it? ? Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Tom Redman provides this phone number: 206-252-0550. (He also says that the initial covering-over of the tagging vandalism was just the first phase; the boards will be painted over, too.)

11 Replies to "Tagging cleanup under way at boarded-up Boren School "

  • Michael January 4, 2011 (7:10 pm)

    They just plain need to do something with that land. The District doesn’t need it more than they need the money they’d get for it, its current use doesn’t help the neighborhood (and has harmed it), and before long it’s going to be in worse disrepair than the schools its students come from.

  • bridge to somewhere January 4, 2011 (7:20 pm)

    That school is such a tempting target for tagging, it might make sense for the police to do a weekend evening sting there to catch some of the losers who tag there. Those taggers are surely responsible for tags all over West Seattle–catching them could have an impact on tags ’round here.

  • School Dude January 4, 2011 (8:44 pm)

    The school district plans on using the building for emergencies, when students are unable to attend their own schools. When South Shore was closed last summer due to fumes from the carpet adhesive, requiring ALL the carpet to be pullled up, the students went to Columbia. It is similiar to Boren, unused but maintained and ready for emergency closures. And tagging isnt the only thing going on @ Boren at night-copper thieves pulled hundreds of feet of wire out from roof top service feeders. Its going to cost thousands to get it back online. A 24/7 rent a cop would be cheaper than the program in place-wait for damage/repair/repeat. BTW I work in maintenance for the School District. Job security I guess…….

  • Rod Clark January 4, 2011 (9:34 pm)

    Metro found that certain patterns stenciled all over its big glass bus shelter windows kept taggers from spray painting them. Not just any patterns, though. Years ago, they tried quite a few, and many of them didn’t work well.
    The school district might ask Metro/King County whether anyone has tried that, with some kind of easy to remove paint, on unused schools’ windows instead of boarding them up. Or on the plywood used to board them up instead of repainting it as a blank canvas. On plywood, you’d think they could try something more colorfully Jackson Pollock-esque, because confusing the people looking out through the windows in bus shelters isn’t a problem with plywood.
    It wouldn’t affect the tagging on the school walls, just as gangs still tag the bus shelter walls, but you can’t have everything.

  • coffee January 4, 2011 (9:43 pm)

    Interesting on the wiring, wondering why that has not hit the media.

  • Rod Clark January 5, 2011 (8:59 am)

    And then there’s the really obvious question. With all the people complaining about overcrowding in the local schools, why not open it as a K-5 until the need for an extra one fades? It’s on the same street as the old Cooper, a mile from there. Closer to where the overcrowding is than Fairmount Park. Maybe they could avoid actually naming it Cooper. As far as I know, the building is in good enough condition.
    Googling a bit for Boren, here’s an interesting quote from the 2006/2007 Pathfinder move recommendation. http://www.seattleschools.org/area/06consolidation/summary.xml
    “The preliminary recommendation relocated the Pathfinder program from the Genesee Hill building to the Boren Building and closing the Genesee Hill building. While Boren has positive attributes for the 6-8 portion of Pathfinder, it is not well suited for the K-5 portion.”
    Can somebody tell me why putting kids in portables and otherwise making people miserable at the overcrowded schools is a higher purpose than using the “not well suited” space at Boren? What’s so “not well suited” about it?

  • Bill January 5, 2011 (4:06 pm)

    If the school district cannot find good use for the site, why not fence it in, and put all the loose coyotes and dangerous dogs in there. That will keep the taggers out.

  • Fatts January 6, 2011 (7:24 am)

    If you are going to board up an unused piece of land, make it an eyesore, not bother to use it, keep it unkempt, what does it matter who tags on it? People walk their dogs and leave their feces there; it is clearly not a priority.
    I don’t think vandals are the issue, the mis-use of land and waste is.
    And paying for cops to sit there for a weekended is a waste of my tax money. If the district doesn’t care about it, why should we waste time and resources defending it?
    I would rather them put the money in revitalizing it as something useful than staking out cops to arrest kids who’s school system has failed them.

  • bridge to somewhere January 6, 2011 (5:15 pm)

    @Fatts: fair point. But I wasn’t suggesting a stake-out to protect the building; instead, I suggested it as a way of targeting West Seattle taggers who certainly tag more than this building. When they do a cocaine sting in a hotel room, they aren’t doing it to ensure no cocaine is sold in that particular hotel room–they are doing it to target the coke dealers/buyers. That abandoned school likely calls-out to all the taggers in the region–and I was suggesting we exploit that to catch some of them. (And I appreciate this won’t actually happen; I was just throwing out the idea for thought.)

  • Fatts January 6, 2011 (10:50 pm)

    This is not about graffiti, this is about the misuse of land. We are using money that can be used for our childrens education, not the cosmetics of a something no one cares about. Graffiti happens when people cease to care about a building. When you put a beacon of disrepair in an already dilapidated neighborhood issues like graffiti arise. You wouldn’t see this on Alki or the Admiral District. Again, the issue is not taggers, it’s the mis-use of land and the negative effect on the neighborhood.

  • SS On-news January 22, 2011 (10:00 am)

    I wish all comment sections for articles were as relevant and informative (and polite) as this. Congratulations readers & West Seattle Blog.

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