SEATTLE – The City of Seattle and local newspaper publishers have worked together to try and curb an unsightly problem: graffiti-covered and abandoned-looking newspaper stands across Seattle.

“These things do make an impression on people,” frequent newspaper reader Alan Beasley said in downtown Seattle Tuesday. “If they were all clean, it’d be great.”

Seattle’s Department of Transportation has teamed up with the stakeholders involved, mainly publishers and stand owners, to create a portal at SeattleNewsStands.org. Taggers have vandalized some boxes and people have thrown beer cans and water bottles in others.

“SDOT’s role – we need to make sure that mobility’s maintained on the sidewalk and access is maintained but also help facilitate distribution of publications – their protected right for freedom of the press,” said Angela Steel, Manager of the Public Space Management Program for SDOT.

The site allows people to click on a maintenance request button where they can then find the name of the publisher to contact. There’s also an area for construction crews who need a stand relocated.

“SDOT was kind of just directing those complaints to the news stand owners,” Steel added.

Loyd Hogan, who’s faced homelessness, said he has spent more years on the street than having a home. He said some of Seattle’s homeless see the stands a bit differently than others might.

“Newspaper stands are a great asset to people that are operating out on the street,” he said. “You can put your lunch in one of them, go back to do whatever you need to do and go back and eat your lunch.”

He’s not convinced the site will have an impact.

“If they can’t even solve the homeless problem, they’re not even going to touch the newspaper box thing,” he said.

This isn’t the first time inanimate objects downtown have been a focus for city leaders. In an April 2015 post, Seattle police said after a four-month operation by its Major Crimes Taskforce and the FBI, officials were also “working to relocate garbage cans, newspaper stands and benches in the area, and close several alleyways associated with repeat criminal activity.”

Separately, Steel said Tuesday that the site is aimed streamlining the complaint process when it comes to addressing the public’s main concerns.

“If they’re filled with garbage or the appearance that they’d been abandoned,” she said. “Mainly graffiti and things like that.”