Public Works removes 'Hayes Valley Hearts' after receiving complaint

Public Works has removed the hearts from Octavia and Ivy streets. | Photo: Natalie D./Hoodline Tipline
By Teresa Hammerl - Published on June 18, 2019.

The array of "Hayes Valley Hearts" painted on the sidewalk at Octavia and Ivy streets are no more. They've been removed by an SF Public Works crew in the wake of a graffiti complaint. 

"[We] did get a graffiti complaint about the hearts on the street and sidewalk," says SFPW spokesperson Rachel Gordon. "[We] dispatched a crew to clean it."

After browsing 311 data, Hoodline found at least one complaint "for graffiti in front of property" that was filed at the intersection on June 8.

When a reporter checked out the location on Monday afternoon, only remnants remained.

The sidewalk with the hearts removed. | Photo: Teresa Hammerl/Hoodline

The colorful #HayesHearts, as they are hashtagged on Instagram, appeared sometime earlier this year, and have been in place since at least March.

The artist behind them is unknown, but Hoodline tipster Natalie D. tells us that the hearts "seem to have been painted, one color at a time, over the course of months late at night." Natalie said that they've already made their way to other parts of the neighborhood as well, like Patricia's Green and Linden Street.

Some "concerned neighbors on Ivy Street" have posted signs in the area, requesting that "Hayes Valley Heart Lovers" keep the crosswalk free of graffiti. 

"The heart graffiti creates a public safety risk when cross walkers pause to take photos while vehicles motion to turn into this street," the sign argues. "City resources budgets are already affecting the many neighborhood needs we are challenged with ... let's not add power washing of hearts to that list. We can do better."

The sign also notes that graffiti is a code violation that can result in fines.

A note placed on a tree on the corner of Ivy and Octavia streets. | Photo: Teresa Hammerl/Hoodline

The sign has gotten some negative feedback. "Dear neighbors, stop it with this NIMBY b.s.," one respondent wrote. Others appear to have added their own hearts to the sign.

Public Works' Gordon said that the agency does "not permit our streets and sidewalks to be used as canvasses or billboards," adding that "if we get information on who is responsible for them we would attempt to seek reimbursement for staff time."

Thanks to Hoodline tipster Natalie D. See something interesting while you’re out and about? Text Hoodline and we’ll try to find out what's going on: (415) 200-3233.

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