PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The prominent blue and gold graffiti that was scrawled onto Jackson Tower’s 10th-floor facade in March, still hangs over Pioneer Courthouse Square as holiday crowds gather in Downtown Portland to see the annual Christmas tree.

More than eight months after an unknown tagger illegally defaced the historic landmark, the City of Portland and the building’s private owner, Jackson Tower Partners LLC, are still working on a strategy to remove the paint.

Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability spokesperson Eden Dabbs told KOIN 6 News that a property owner would normally be in violation of city code for not removing graffiti within 10 days. However, due to the height and location of the graffiti, and the building’s historical significance, the removal project, she said, is “extremely difficult” to carry out. As a result, the city is working with Jackson Tower Partners LLC and TriMet to decide on the best date and time to complete the restoration.

“The removal requires the use of a specialized lift, shutdown of the nearby Max train and power, and special products for the removal of the paint without affecting the building surface,” Dabbs said. 

A spokesperson with the Portland-based property management company Norris & Stevens Inc., which oversees the building, told KOIN 6 News that there is currently no timeline for when the cleanup will occur.

“We want it to get taken care of as quickly as possible,” Norris & Stevens Inc. said.

Jackson Tower (left) seen from Broadway in 1965. | Archival photo of the historic landmark provided by the City of Portland.

The daunting paint-removal process and the potential for people scaling the building’s exterior to be injured, the property management company and the city said, has motivated Jackson Tower Partners LLC to improve the building’s security features. The proposed improvements include changes to the building’s fire escape and upgrades to the interior fire sprinkler system.

“It’s unfortunate that people are putting themselves in harm’s way to put graffiti on buildings, but that’s happening though the City of Portland,” Norris & Stevens Inc. said. “We don’t want anyone to get hurt. We wish they wouldn’t do it.”

The City of Portland has suggested that it may aid in financing the paint removal. However, no public funds have officially been approved for the project at this time.

“Because this property is a historic landmark in a key location, it prompted us to work with the property to remove the graffiti,” Dabbs said. “The city has provided consultation and assistance in navigating the code compliance issues related to both the removal of graffiti, as well as developing ways to mitigate additional tagging on the structure. The city has offered to potentially offset the cost of graffiti removal from the exterior.”