By Michael Wallen
EUGENE, Ore. – This summer, Churchill area teenagers are tagging surfaces around the neighborhood with the phrase “No Love”.
The signature graffiti tag of the vandals is the word ‘no’ followed by a heart symbol. Witnesses at Churchill Sports Park say police arrived at the park around noon Wednesday to cover up a new round of the graffiti and intercepted a teenage male tagging the tennis courts. According to Rachel Arbogast, who manages the Churchill Market across Bailey Hill Street from the park, a group of about four Winston Churchill High School students had been a huge problem in the neighborhood.
“We’ve been broken into 14 times since March,” Arbogast said, gesturing at the heavy iron gates installed three weeks ago at the store’s doors. “Now they tag the place since they can’t get in.” Arbogast indicated the break-ins had been to steal cigarettes and beer. She seemed unfamiliar with the particular graffiti her store had most recently been tagged with, and it’s unknown how many more teenagers create the “No Love” graffiti.
Chase Parker of Eugene Park and Recreation has seen the tag recently become popular with students at the high school, which is next to Churchill Sports Park. He did not consider the tag threatening or hateful, noting that he’s seen much worse.
“The graffiti sends a bad message, but I think the kids are in pain and are looking for help. They are the ones not feeling love.” Tirzah Brounstein, Parker’s co-worker, said.
St. Augustine of Hippo is famous for advising “Love, and do as thou wilt.” He thought acts of individual liberty would only be good if the individual had love. As Eugene prepares to celebrate American liberty on Sunday, it seems many Churchill area teenagers are telling the community they need love.