Tulalip bridge still a graffiti target

Graffiti continues to mar an old, unused railroad overpass that crosses I-5 near Quil Ceda Village, and Tulalip tribal leaders are still musing on how to stop the vandalism for good.

The state Department of Transportation painted the steel bridge last summer to cover gang symbols and racial slurs, but it never takes long for vandals armed with cans of spray paint to return. They inch along a wooden catwalk as I-5 traffic rushes by below and lurk in the shadows to leave their marks until the bridge is an eyesore and a distraction for drivers.

The bridge is owned by the Tulalip Tribes, but the state Transportation Department maintains it.

Last fall, a logo was designed that incorporates the Tulalip Tribes and the city of Marysville. Discussion ensued about whether the logo could replace the graffiti, but Quil Ceda Village General Manager John McCoy said that won’t happen.

“The feds won’t let us do that, and we never really discussed it,” said McCoy, who is also a state lawmaker.

Tribal leaders hope to simply paint over the graffiti and close off the bridge so vandals can’t reach it, McCoy said.

“In order to paint it, we’ve got to stop traffic, so it will have to be a weekend thing, at night,” he said. “We can’t have cars running underneath it when we’re painting.”

Tribal leaders have said that they want to keep the bridge in place in case they decide to use it as a pedestrian crossing in the future.

It’s not clear when tribal leaders will make a final decision on strategies to stop the graffiti, McCoy said.

Reporter Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422 or kkapralos@heraldnet.com.

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