Taggers spray paint trees at Ala Moana Park - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Taggers spray paint trees at Ala Moana Park

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Taggers have targeted at least 20 trees at Ala Moana Beach Park, including two that are considered "exceptional" by the city. Authorities plan to file a police report on Wednesday about the growing graffiti problem.

Jamie Grant-Prater enjoys the scenic views at the park as she trains for the Honolulu Marathon, but during a recent run she spotted several spray painted markings.

"It really made me sad. I really was just discouraged that someone damaged the trees with paint," said Grant-Prater, a Honolulu resident.

Two of the vandalized trees, featuring plaques with the designation "exceptional tree," are protected by a city ordinance.

"They either are particularly large or old or have some significance in terms of our history," explained Marti Townsend, executive director of The Outdoor Circle.

According to Townsend, tree tagging is an ongoing challenge. Hawaii News Now has learned that the latest round of graffiti at Ala Moana Beach Park started in January. Crews cleaned up a couple of the trees, but stains remain. There are also new markings on one of the trunks.

"Taggers tend to respond to the tags so I definitely think it will get worse if it isn't highlighted now," said Grant-Prater.

"It's a real hassle. It would be nice to expend city resources to actually improve park facilities as opposed to having to fix these kinds of degradations," Townsend said.

Grant-Prater sent an email with photos to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, hoping the city takes action.

"Certain things in an urban area you can expect to see graffiti on. It's going to be a problem that never totally goes away, but you definitely don't expect to see it on beautiful trees in the park," said Grant-Prater.

"It does encourage damage to the tree and undermines the overall aesthetic value of the tree," said Townsend. "Unlike a building, it's hard to paint a tree."


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