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Litter and Graffiti Clean-up

Graffiti removal on 1-84Overview

ODOT maintains the land adjoining highways and transportation infrastructure, or right of way. Part of that maintenance includes litter removal and graffiti cleanup. We do a lot of work to keep our roads clean, but the problem is constant and increasing at rates greater than our crews, volunteers and partners can keep up with.

In 2023, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 5701 giving ODOT $20 million in general fund dollars for litter removal, graffiti cleanup, camp cleanup and access prevention in the Portland metro area for use through June 2025. This funding was available on April 17, 2024 and on April 18, we had contracts in place for the work.

In addition, since March 2024, we partnered with local business leaders to pilot a Sponsor-a-Highway program that is currently removing graffiti and litter on the I-405 corridor in Portland.

As of June 30, 2024, these efforts have accomplished the following:

June Outcomes
Outcomes to date
Litter removal
26,500 lbs. collected
44,260 lbs. collected

Graffiti removal
2,969+ tags removed
6,800+ tags removed

Camp clean-up
148 camps cleaned up
359 camps cleaned up*

Access prevention
1 projects completed
5 projects completed*

*April was first month of graffiti, camp cleanup & access prevention work with SB 5701 funds

Clean up locations in June 2024

Litter removal was accomplished in the following areas:

  • I-205 between mile points 3 and 18.
  • US 26 (Sunset Highway) between mile points 55 and 72 – throughout the corridor from Dersham Rd in Cornelius to Hillsboro.
  • I-5 Southbound between mile points 280 and 307 – roughly from SW Multnomah Blvd to Hayden Island.
  • I-84 east and west between mile points 9 and 17, from just east of I-205 to Troutdale.
  • Oregon 217 north and south between mile point 0 and 8.82.

Graffiti was removed in the following corridors:

  • I-205
  • I-84
  • I-5

This work includes the removal of over 2,969 tag clusters and application of over 1,258 gallons of paint. Graffiti was removed from 20 signs and 9 signs were replaced.

Camp cleanup was conducted at the following locations by City of Portland contractors:

  • Frequent posting & cleaning areas:
    • I-405 corridor, both mainline and street level and Hwy 30 interchange areas
    • I-205 MUP between Glisan and Flavel
    • I-5 between N Victory and Broadway
  • No large-scale or significant sites cleaned this reporting cycle. Focus was on areas of the city most impacted by reoccurring encampments. 

Access Prevention was installed at the following locations:

US 30 eastbound to I-405 southbound over 20th Ave and NW Thurman. Fencing was installed under the structure to protect structures and prevent camping.

Service Delivery


ODOT uses maintenance crews, youth litter patrols, Adults in Custody work crews, permitted volunteer groups, and an Adopt-A-Highway program to deliver litter clean up services. Due to safety risks, ODOT plans these services in advance, uses traffic control as needed, and has a formal process to safely guide staff as they perform this work and handle items collected.

Camp Clean-up

Camp clean-up is delivered by the City of Portland, following practices that were developed collaboratively between the city, ODOT and Multnomah County service providers. Portland is responsible for program management, site clean-up, renting and managing a storage warehouse, support to Central City Concern and removal of derelict vehicles (including trailers and RVs) from state right of way.


Graffiti removal is delivered through ODOT maintenance crews and contracted support. We’ve also applied graffiti film, which can be peeled back to remove graffiti – saving crews from costly repairs and replacement – to new ODOT signs. Larger signs require highway closures, proactive alerts to industry partners of potential impacts, and can cost up to $30,000 to replace.

Access Prevention

Access prevention is used to protect bridges, retaining walls and multiuse paths from illegal camping and RV parking. This also protects bridge and related structures from structural damage, and limits camper exposure to high-speed roadways. In 2023, 50% of pedestrians hit and killed by cars in Portland were homeless. Connections have been drawn between encampment locations along high-speed roadways and the increased risk of serious injury or death for these campers. Access prevention includes the use of vegetation, fencing and barrier to limit access and discourage use.

Answers to Common Questions

​Litter and graffiti happen in all parts of the state and ODOT, working with local governments, addresses those issues to the best of our ability. This new legislative funding is focused on the Portland area which has the highest concentration of litter and graffiti in the state.

​Highway maintenance work is prioritized and measured. In many cases we cannot defer critical maintenance work to focus only on litter and graffiti – many of these other tasks are important for life/safety concerns. Our agency oversees approximately xxxx lane miles, xxx state bridges and xxx miles of dedicated bike lanes across the state so there is a lot of work to do on a daily basis with limited funds. 

Our roles in litter cleanup include: 

  • Responding and removing any trash in active traffic or posing an immediate safety risk
  • Removing large items or debris (mattresses, couches) that potentially block traffic 
  • Removing roadkill ​
We work hard to balance the needs of our aging transportation system while also addressing litter as time and resources allow. 

​Law enforcement plays a large role in preventing graffiti by stopping the taggers in action. We are working on preventing graffiti. Frequent removal of graffiti discourages taggers from graffi​tiing a site. We also have a pilot project to install fake ivy on a few locations later this summer. Taggers are less likely to vandalize something that doesn’t look like a blank canvas.​

Contact Us

Contact one of our regional spokespeople for more information.

Maintenance cleaning costs

ODOT spent $22 million to clean and restore highway property during the 2021-23 budget cycle.

Latest Numbers

43,500 lbs. of Litter Collected trashbag.png

6,800 Graffiti Tags Removed
359 Camps Cleared

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