Graffiti on back wall of old Kmart building in Bishop in January.

Bill Cosby once said, ““Gray hair is god’s graffiti.”  That still leaves the door open to whether graffiti is beautiful or ugly, and most agree it comes uninvited.  In the Eastern Sierra, graffiti feels like a felony and almost always raises public ire until it’s removed.  That’s what happened recently in Bishop where a citizen saw a wide expanse of graffiti on the back wall of the old Kmart building just off Main St.

The citizen, who moved to the Owens Valley from Southern California and wishes to remain anonymous, said he had seen enough of graffiti and really wanted it gone from Bishop.  He reported the offense to Bishop Police.

It’s unclear exactly how the graffiti was painted over.  Bishop Police Chief Chris

graffiti left

Painted over graffiti as it appears today

Carter said that typically his department contacts property owners to ask if they would arrange to get rid of the graffiti.  “If not,” said the Chief, “it could just lead to more.  We’ve been fortunate,” he said, “to not have a lot of that.  I hope we don’t.”

The concerned citizen made a string of phone calls in search of the property owner.  He first went to Kevin Wing of Safeway properties, was referred to Inge Ching who referred him to Angela Wong and on and on.  Finally he spoke to someone who denied ownership of the wall behind the old Kmart building, but in the end it turned out the property is owned by the parent company of that firm.  Safeway or Vons actually leases the entire shopping center that includes the former Kmart building.

While the painting over of the graffiti leaves white-looking rectangles on the gray wall, the graffiti is no more.  It’s unclear exactly why the lessees or property owners did the job, but cage rattling from the citizen and police certainly helped.

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