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Oildale residents are tired of Graffiti, so they are cleaning it themselves

The City, the County, and one local resident who is tired of it
Graffiti example in Oildale
Posted at 7:17 AM, Feb 20, 2024
  • "I'll outlast you." That's the message one Oildale man has towards graffiti taggers in his community.
  • In this video, meet the man behind the cleanup. And see how well the County and City have been handling their end of the bargain.

“Personally, I think it's just 12 year olds stealing paint out of their grandparents' garage,” said Mike Clopton, a volunteer graffiti cleaner.

Mike Clopton spends his drive home from work looking for one thing.

“Everywhere, all over Oildale. I painted over every one of them.”

Graffiti example in Oildale
Graffiti example in Oildale

With a truck full of gallons of paint.

“15 gallons of the grey on me right now. And I have white and I have tan and I have off-white,” said Clopton.

He spends his weekends cleaning up graffiti for free.

“Totally volunteer,” said Clopton.

It's been over a year since the County of Kern and the City of Bakersfield entered an agreement to work together against graffiti.

Since then, the requests for abatement have averaged out to seven per day.

But the invoices from the beginning of the year grew over ten times in amount.

“Q4, you really saw those requests ramp up, as people start to get the word on how they could report graffiti,” said James Zervis, Former Chief Administrative Officer.

From just 21 complaints for Quarter 1, to 386 complaints for Quarter 3, all getting cleaned up.

Before & After photo of graffiti cleanup
Before & After photo of graffiti cleanup

But Clopton still does his fair share, even being recognized by those spray painting.

“Somebody painted my name on there, and M-I-K-E- C-L-O-P-T-O-N, the whole thing, and put an X through it,” said Clopton.

Clopton says he has seen a difference since the city and county started working together, but him and his grandson still have their weekends full.

“My little grandson says to me yesterday, why would people do this Papa? And I said I don’t know exactly why they do it. He goes 'Its like they want to ruin the city.' That's what my little 8 year old grandson said to me,” said Clopton.

If you are a resident of Oildale wanting to help, you can learn more by visiting the Oildale Community Action Team’s Facebook group.

If you have graffiti to report, you can do so at the City of Bakersfield’s website (even if you do not live in Bakersfield proper).

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