To paint or remove paint —two choose weapons in local graffiti war

Erik Espeland prefers a rag and a can of paint remover. “Since late April or the beginning of May, we’ve cleaned up graffiti on Lake Street, from the Target store at the Minnehaha Mall to West River Road, two or three times,” said Espeland, who counts on about 30 volunteers. With direction and some funding from the City and from Longfellow Community Council, Espeland, who calls his group REMOV (Removing Existing Marks of Vandalism), says that high visibility areas that were a problem before are getting better. Eric Gustafson picks the paint brush. “About a year and half ago we started a huge mural project to get the whole community involved—especially at-risk kids,” said Gustafson, assistant director of the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization (CNO), who says that groups totaling some 400 volunteers—mostly youths—have completed 12 community murals in the Corcoran Neighborhood as deterrents to local graffiti artists, or taggers. Continue Reading