Lynn Herreid—Keeping Redding Graffiti-Free
By Kendra Kaiserman
Clean Up Crew
By Kendra Kaiserman
Photos by Ronda Alvey
What started as a temporary solution to an unattractive problem has become part of Lynn Herreid’s life’s work – and it’s making Redding a more beautiful place.
Herreid, 60, has been removing graffiti as a volunteer with the Redding Police Department for five years. “It started out temporarily and it’s been five years,” he says.
Herreid removes graffiti on public property within the city limits of Redding, typically spending almost 80 hours a month on the task. On average, he removes graffiti two or three days a week for five or six hours at a time.
“We have a hotline where people leave messages, and I go to those locations and I clean, paint or pressure wash graffiti – whatever it takes.”
Herreid has a system down. “On stop signs, you just spray it with a chemical, let it sit there for two minutes and hopefully it takes just the graffiti off, ” Herreid says. “And then there’s this other stuff called Elephant Snot – I’m not sure where it got its name. You brush it on sidewalks and stuff and you have to let it dry like 10 or 20 minutes, and that pressure washes right off most of the time.”
Like any job, removing graffiti has its challenges and rewards. The challenging part for Herreid has been the volume of graffiti. The most rewarding part is “having people say ‘thank you,’” says Herreid. “A lot of times people will drive by and honk or actually stop and say, ‘Thank you so much.’ That’s pretty rewarding.”
Along with removing graffiti, Herreid also helps Community Work Program Officer Bob Brannon clean up transient camps. “That’s the main reason I do graffiti, is to help Bob. He was doing it before I was doing it and he doesn’t have time to do the job he does now. He’s the most unappreciated guy you probably ever saw working, and he just works and works, so I help him when I can,” says Herreid.
Herreid has known Brannon for more than 20 years and calls him the “unsung hero.”
“Today, since I’ve had the volunteers doing the graffiti, I focus on the transients and the problems associated with the transients and the illegal dumping,” Brannon says.
Brannon, 61, started working for the Redding Police Department in October 1990. “I could have retired when I was 55, but I enjoy working. A goal I have is to train somebody to do my job when I leave. I enjoy what I’m doing and I would like to get someone in there that also enjoys what they’re doing and to do a decent job,” Brannon says.
To volunteer to help remove graffiti, you can fill out an application (which requires a background check) at the Redding Police Department.