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City of Billings seeking public's help to prevent Rims graffiti

GRAFFITI
Posted at 5:42 PM, Jun 06, 2024

BILLINGS - The city of Billings is seeking the public's help in preventing graffiti from being spray painted on the Billings Rims.

The problem has gone on for years, but city officials have currently been paying more attention to the area on the Rims above 17th Street West.

Code Enforcement Manager Tina Hoeger has worked closely with the Billings Fire Department to try and eliminate the problem. Firefighters repelled down the rocks and power washed much of the graffiti away. Unfortunately, as quickly as the paint was gone, it returned.

"Extremely frustrating," Hoeger said. "But we have to do something. We have two choices: We can either clean it up or we can leave it there."

Hoeger said driving around the city and seeing graffiti seemingly everywhere had her frustrated.

"It lessens the quality of life in our city and honestly if people came to visits, we don't want them seeing that," Hoeger said.

Hoeger used her frustration to begin a new project where residents can receive a $500 reward if they come forward with information that helps catch those involved.

“I know people don’t like to report or tell on other people," Hoeger said. "Maybe the monetary part will help with that but they have to understand that what they are doing is defacing our city.”

Billings resident and Rims visitor Peter O'Brien said he was excited to hear that the city was trying to fix the problem.

"I think it's special to have the Rims so close to town," O'Brien said during a bike ride with his mother, Marti O'Brien, Thursday afternoon. "It's kind of the defining feature of our town, and if we let it fall apart, it could continue to decline. We're going to need to take some ownership."

THE O'Briens

O'Brien's mother is from Red Lodge, and she added that the Rims are the thing she visualizes when she thinks of Billings.

"The Rims are the attraction to me," Marti said. "Having it clean and nice for residents and visitors, I think, is really important."

It's a mission the city is determined to undertake and one the O'Briens understand.

"It's an awesome thing and there's been a lot of people out here besides us today. We need to protect it," Peter said. "So, I would say if you see something say something."