Photo credit: Jason Ganwich

BIA Maintenance Crew

One of the primary functions of the BIA is to provide additional maintenance and sidewalk cleaning services within BIA. The BIA Maintenance Crew, lead by Jim Burgess, pressure washes sidewalks and picks up garbage leaves and debris from sidewalks, gutters, and common

areas throughout the 84-block of the BIA at least once per week. Higher traffic areas are cleaned twice per week. Upon request the BIA Maintenance Crew will also clean graffiti (within arms reach) on all rate-paying buildings in the BIA.

The BIA Maintenance Committee, comprised of BIA Board members and staff meets regularly to oversee the maintenance crew and address maintenance related issues and concerns.

For maintenance related requests and questions please contact the BIA Maintenance Supervisor Jim Burgess at (253) 682-1731 or

Graffiti Removal

For graffiti removal or other cleaning requests contact Maintenance Supervisor Jim Burgess, (253) 682-1731.

Graffiti is the type of crime that when ignored promotes more graffiti and other crimes. The broken windows analogy, articulated by crime consultant George Kelling suggests that a broken window leads to more broken windows, garbage, graffiti and a general disdain for an area, creating an atmosphere conducive to further criminal behavior. Taking a proactive approach to graffiti now will help to reduce crime and the perception of criminal activity in downtown Tacoma in the long run.

It is crucial to remove graffiti as soon as it appears and it’s the law. In 1999 the Tacoma City Council passed an ordinance (No. 26395) making graffiti illegal in Tacoma. The ordinance calls out specific enforcement actions for compliance by the property owner or graffiti vandal.

The law includes the following:

  • Bans the possession of pressurized containers and wide tip markers (4 mm in width – approx. 1¼ inch), by persons less than 18 years of age.
  • Makes graffiti vandalism a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to $5,000 in fines, or up to one-year imprisonment or both.
  • Graffiti must be removed from public property within 10 days of notice.
  • Private property owners are required to insure that graffiti is removed from private property within 10 days of notice of property being determined a potential Graffiti Nuisance Property, requires a civil penalty of $250 per day if not abated within 10 days (court action may also be taken).
  • City may remove graffiti from premises (public or private) with permission of the party responsible for the property.
  • City can bill the property owner for the cost of removal.

Although the responsibility for graffiti removal is that of individual property owners, the BIA offers advice and help. BIA crews responsible for common area maintenance work daily to identify and remove graffiti from public areas within the 84-block district. Maintenance personnel will attempt to inform ratepayers or their agents of graffiti they notice on any properties within the BIA, and crews will remove graffiti as time and resources permit. Crews will not clean graffiti that cannot be reached from a standing position on the sidewalk.

The BIA recommends the following actions to prevent/deter graffiti:

  • Create access barriers, either vegetation or fencing. Graffiti vandals desire an audience, and they look for places where their "canvas"-private buildings or public common areas-remains undisturbed
  • Increase lighting
  • Apply protective coating to windows to prevent scratching or keying
  • Deny access to fire escapes and keep them well lit
  • Install security cameras

When graffiti does occur:

  • Take photographs of the graffiti, this helps police identify perpetrators, secure arrests and make convictions
  • Contact Tacoma Police Department or BIA Security
  • Call "911" and request police presence
  • Remove graffiti as soon as possible. Research shows that the longer graffiti remains, the chance of reoccurrence rises significantly
  • Use appropriate materials and techniques to remove graffiti without damaging your building
  • For information about materials and techniques that can effectively (but safely) remove graffiti, contact BIA Maintenance Supervisor Jim Burgess, (253) 682-1731.