Volunteers covered graffiti in gray paint Friday, aiming to keep Spokane beautiful and clean |

SPOKANE, Wash. – Friday afternoon the community came together to help keep Spokane beautiful, by taking paintbrushes to underpasses covered in graffiti.

“I’m here to help get rid of some of the graffiti,” Volunteer Buddy Meola said.

Driving through the city, you can see graffiti in countless different places, maybe you have wanted to cover it up, too. Well, today members of the Rotary Club of Spokane 21 and other volunteers, like Meola, put their efforts together to clean up the city we all love.

“We’re all looking at this graffiti and some of us don’t like it a whole lot, so this is the most satisfying job in the world as far as I can tell,” Rotary Club Member Rick Voit said.

The message became clear: the volunteers support artwork, like the mural on the Maple Street Bridge, but this graffiti is believed to be in the wrong place.

“I enjoy Spokane and I think it’s a beautiful place if we can get rid of all the graffiti,” Meola said.

Near the quiet Highbridge Park neighborhood, Meola, Voit, and other volunteers picked up trash and rolled their paintbrushes covered in gray paint over the colorful, loud graffiti under I-90 and Sunset Boulevard.

“I feel like I can make a difference here, and the amount of graffiti that we’re able to cover in just a few minutes is incredible,” Voit said.

The Rotary Club was able to volunteer so easily because of the city’s help, and an easilyaccessible website. In one click of the “Volunteer” tab on the city’s website, folks can learn what type of volunteer opportunities are available in Spokane and then be paired with a good-fit opportunity.

Brian Walker works for the Office of Neighborhood Services, and was overjoyed by Friday’s turnout to clear up the graffiti.

“It takes individuals to get the ball rolling, and an army of folks can get a lot done in a short amount of time,” Walker said.

As for Meola, he comes to Spokane during the summers with his wife to see their grandchildren. He is originally from Arizona, and he is retired now.

“I think once you retire it’s time to give back,” Meola said. “I’ve been doing this for four years, this if the fourth time this year that I’ve worked with the group.”

And how he is choosing to give back is a way anyone who lives in the area can: volunteer to help keep Spokane beautiful.

“If you’ve got time, there’s something here for you to do,” Meola said. “It’s nice, it makes you feel good.”