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Organize a District Cleanup and Graffiti Removal

Description

Organizing a district cleanup can facilitate collaboration while improving the commercial area. A district cleanup could involve clearing sidewalks, mowing, trimming and edging, pulling weeds, re-painting, removing litter or graffiti, or planting flowers or trees. 

While public art can bring significant value to a neighborhood, graffiti often involves ethnic slurs, obscenities, and territoritial tagging by gangs. Graffiti is costly and destructive, and sends a message that the community is not concerned about the appearance of its commercial district. You can take control of your commercial district by quickly removing graffiti. Prompt removal reduces the chance of graffiti reappearing and helps maintain a safe, secure, and attractive environment.

The City of Tulsa does not currently have a graffiti removal program, but you can report it to 311. If you see graffiti in progress, call 911.

Steps 

  1. Talk to nearby businesses or property owners to decide which projects need to be completed, and agree on three possible dates to host your projects. This is also a great opportunity to connect with nearby neighborhoods and/or neighborhood associations.

  2. Recruit volunteers for specific projects. Try to find at least one expert you can pair inexperienced volunteers with. A spreadsheet may help keep everyone’s responsibilities in order, and if your group is large enough, you may need captains in charge of specific elements of your projects.

  3. Gather supplies. Your project may require brooms, weed trimmers, lawn mowers, shovels, gloves, paint brushes, litter pickers, trash bags, or other items. If your group is spread over a large area, it would be wise to recruit someone with a large vehicle to haul filled trash bags or other items back to the dumpster (or to the Green Waste Facility) throughout the day. Free supplies may be available through Keep Oklahoma Beautiful’s programs (next page).

  4. For graffiti removal, make sure you talk to the propery owner(s) before starting, and gather supplies such as a power washer, paint, paint sprayer, or other graffiti removal tools. 

  5. Publicize the cleanup on your district Facebook page (if you have one), individual business pages, newsletter, and at meetings.

  6. Get to Work! Make sure everyone stays hydrated, and that you have sunscreen, bug spray, and appropriate clothing (close-toed shoes, hats, etc.). If your work will take several hours, ask for volunteers to supply food or snacks to keep everyone fueled up.

  7. Take photos of your projects and share them with us at facebook.com/tulsaplanning or email us at destinationdistricts@incog.org.

Additional Resources 

City of Tulsa Waste Services

Dead Animal Removal
Dead animal collection from the street or curb can be arranged by calling 918.596.9777.

Green Waste Drop-Off
2100 N. 145th E. Ave.
7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except City holidays.

The City of Tulsa offers free yard waste drop-off. Residents may dispose of grass, leaves, brush and tree limbs. A current drivers license with a Tulsa address or a City of Tulsa utility bill are required. Wood chips are available for free, as well. This cannot be used for general waste from commercial businesses.

Dumpster Program
The City’s Working in Neighborhoods department has Neighborhood Liaisons that can help registered Business Associations obtain a dumpster for cleanup efforts. This cannot be used for general waste from commercial businesses.

Recycling
The Metropolitan Environmental Trust (M.e.t.) has a list of commerical recycling options available on their website:
metrecycle.com/commercial-recyclers.


 

Keep Oklahoma Beautiful Programs

keepoklahomabeautiful.com

Great American Cleanup — An annual, nationwide project. Keep Oklahoma Beautiful coordinates cleanup activities in Oklahoma. Registered participants receive free supplies for their event. Don’t miss this opportunity to spruce up your community next spring! Everything kicks off on March 1 and ends May 31.

Fresh Paint Days — A program designed to encourage volunteers to seek out unsightly community structures and renovate them with the creative use of resources. Willing volunteers make use of donated paint and a stipend for supplies to transform their building with the application of fresh paint, a little creativity, and a lot of elbow grease!

Lend-a-Bin — Keep Oklahoma Beautiful has recycling bins available for your use. District cleanups, conferences, and festivals are just a few ideas on how your organization can use these bins. Bins must be picked up at KOB’s offices in Oklahoma City. 

Environmental Excellence Competition — Each year, Keep Oklahoma Beautiful calls for nominations for environmental awards in a number of categories. The prestigious awards are presented at an Awards Recognition Banquet each November.

Litter Education — Provides educational opportunities for students through creative projects. Each program is developed to teach students about the harmful effects of littering and the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling.

Workshops — KOB staff, community leaders, volunteers and experienced organizational directors provide useful knowledge and expertise at these workshops.


 

Disposing of Latex Paint

Once it’s fully dried, latex paint is non-hazardous and can be disposed of in your normal trash receptacle. Be sure to thoroughly read the paint label to understand if your paint is latex or oil-based. Oil-based paints must be disposed of at the Household Pollutant Collection Facility.

To dispose of latex paint at home, simply remove the lid in a well-ventilated area and let the paint solidify. Depending on the amount of paint, this may take several days to weeks. You can also add cat litter to help speed the drying process. Once the paint is solidified and there is no liquid left in the container, it can be disposed of in your normal trash.

If you have any questions about this process or the City of Tulsa’s Household Pollutant Collection Facility, call 918.591.4325.