For many, the old 76 Gas Station in Woodinville is the first thing they see when entering town.

Longtime residents Dena and Eric Person remember when the station was thriving more than a decade ago. However, until recently, the abandoned lot was covered in trash and graffiti.

“The graffiti bothered me for a long time,” Dena Person said. “It's not been a pretty sight. I think it sends a different message. If it bothers me, it’s got to bother other people.” 

As a result, the Persons took matters into their own hands. The couple spent several days painting over the graffiti with Pacific Northwest themes like the mountains and greenery.

“[This is] kind of my way of saying graffiti isn't acceptable, but art is,” Dena Person said. 

She wanted to “make people feel good” as they exit and enter the freeway or other nearby neighborhoods, she said. Her goal is to make people laugh and smile. 

“It's been amazing what a smile can do for people. We would really like to see everyone smiling again. If we can put smiles on people's faces, that's a step in the right direction.”

Dena Person said she attempted to reach out to the owner of the gas station, Paul Spears, to let him know about her plan. After leaving a few voicemails, she told him to call with any objections. He never did, she noted.

“I figured it was okay,” she said. “It's more about the action, not the reaction.”

The gas tanks have been emptied for a while now, Dena Person said. According to the King County Parcel Viewer, the 17,000-square-foot property is appraised at $866,900. 

She has already revisited the gas station several times to add more color and blend in some tagging that occurred, she said. Her plan is to continue touching up the art murals.

“I can only do so much,” she said. 

She encourages everyone to “use their hands” and get involved in the community. Together, she said, more things can be accomplished.

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