A strange little graffiti battle transpired over the past week at the top of a highway off-ramp in Tacoma.
The initial spray-painter had either a nasty sense of humor or a mean streak. But he or she lost out to someone with a more inspirational message. All just in time for the holidays.
I’m almost sure my family had nothing to do with it.
My route to work includes the eastbound state Route 16 off-ramp to Sprague Avenue. We’ve written about the ramp a number of times, first when the state built it in the wrong place, had to tear it apart and rebuild it.
Since the ramp opened in June, its design has spawned more controversy. It forces drivers to navigate a steep incline that dead-ends into a hard, 90-degree, left-hand turn. Eventually, the state will install a stop light at the top and continue the ramp down the other side onto southbound Interstate 5. In the meantime, some fear a car could crash through the dead end and fall 75 feet to the ground below.
To prevent that, the state has added speed bumps, flashing yellow lights, increasingly bigger danger signs and a row of concrete barriers at the end of the ramp. Still, a number of cars have run into the barriers, leaving behind a host of colorful paint scrapes.
A few weeks ago, someone added to the canvas, writing “Kill Yourself” in blue spray paint on one of the barriers. The handwriting was impeccable. The sentiment was awful. Call me a Pollyanna, but that’s cruel even for graffiti.
I kept waiting for the state to paint over the words, but they remained.
Last weekend, a family member who drives a similar route to work asked if I’d seen it. It bothered her – so much so that she was tempted to buy a can of spray paint and paint it over herself.
We discouraged her, both for the obvious safety concerns and because we feared the police who missed the original lawbreaking artist would catch her.
On Wednesday, I slowed to make the off-ramp turn and saw what’s pictured at right. Someone using goldish-brown spray paint had crossed out “Kill Yourself” and written next to it: “Believe the Impossible.”
I am by no means a graffiti proponent, but my hat is off to the person so inspired. It was a nice thing to see on the day before Thanksgiving.
(My family member shall remain unnamed. Oddly, her favorite color is brown.)
PREP GAME CHATS POPULAR
A week ago, TNT preps reporters Doug Pacey and Todd Milles drew a big audience for their live chat during the Bellevue-Lakes Class 3A football quarterfinals. Alongside the rousing conversation between the reporters and the readers, Pacey live-streamed video of the game. Almost 2,000 viewers watched and commented live during the game.
The next day, 1,600 joined a live chat of the Bellarmine Prep-Skyview Class 4A football state quarterfinal playoff game.
Pacey plans to do more live chats through the high school football championships (and again for the state basketball tournaments in March). Watch for game times in the Sports section. Go to blog.thenewstribune.com/preps for the chats.
Karen Peterson: 253-597-8434