Tagging a memorial – a new low


Originally uploaded by dieselboi.

I am angry. I am very angry right now. Today, I discovered something that made my blood boil. A week or so ago, after the “big” anti-war protest, a splinter group decided to co-opt the day and make the protest about themselves and how much they hate the police. According to reports, about 800 of them were across from the justice center throughout the afternoon, continuously confronting the police. The Mercury pointed out that a few of these individuals were some of the same street kids who were protesting the sit/lie ordnance. Most of the vitriol that day was anti-Portland Police.

Well, my anger is about the graffiti and vandalism of the war memorial in Lonsdale Square in the same area. This is a war memorial for WWI, listing names of Oregon soldiers who died in that war. All over the tall statue, it appears blue and orange spray paint had been used, along with black markers. Someone even had the temerity to write “Fuck the Police” with a swastika.

I don’t fucking care what your politics are. I don’t fucking care if you are a street kid or live in a Pearl loft. I don’t fucking care if you hate this current war or not. I don’t fucking care if you have been wronged by the police. Defacing a memorial to the dead is horrible. How would you feel if someone showed up at your parent’s grave and pissed on it? How would you feel if someone dug up your childhood pet and threw it in the trash? How would you feel if someone went to your best friend or former lover’s grave site and knocked over the tombstone?

Well, by tagging a memorial, whether it is for war or not, is like slapping someone’s mom in the face. The soldiers who fought and died in WWI are so far removed from today’s politics and crap, it just makes me wonder what kind of asshole thinks that tagging the memorial with anti-police slogans is actually accomplishing something.

I really hope there is a way to clean up the memorial as it is something Portland and Oregon should value and be proud of.


I won’t even get into the topic of protesters using the swastika as a symbol in their actions. You do the math.

13 Comments so far

  1. Kevin (unregistered) on March 28th, 2007 @ 8:57 pm


    Word to it all.

    Portland: the city that seems determined to make liberals hate liberalism.

  2. atlas (unregistered) on March 28th, 2007 @ 9:12 pm

    Great post!

  3. martin (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 5:29 am

    If you haven’t done so already, please call the city’s Graf Coordinator Marcia Dennis at 503.823.5860. This seems like something she could move up to the top of the list.
    Also, it seems like there is more of a “this is vandalism” vibe in Portland lately rather than the lame “this is art” sentiment I felt was common a couple years ago. Good.

  4. Glenn (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 6:33 am

    dieselboi, you use of excessive and gratituitous profanity in this post detracts from your message, and in some ways reduces you to the level of the peole you are protesting about. You should rethink your approach.

  5. atlas (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 7:12 am

    Well Glenn, clearly dieselboi was impassioned regarding his feelings about this… and I do agree with your statement in general, however I would note that is not typical of dieselboi(even with other strongly felt posts.)

    Reading that myself I thought his words (at-a-glance I count an “excessive” five words) were acceptable. I likely wouldn’t do it, but as a reader of this blog and his posts it came across as I think it was intended, with marked emphasis. I also do not think his choice of words reduces him to the subject(s) of his post, given the greater content of the message.

    All that said for the large part I do agree with you Glenn. However I would also note that language is always a tricky thing because even your comment a “chosen” word of yours has an effect that counters your intent. “You should rethink your approach.” Telling people what they “should” do tends to have counter-productive effects, escpecially in this type of fourm.

    Nevertheless this post and the follow up comments are all great from my perspective because of all the spawned discussion regarding it all.

  6. Devan Robbins (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 10:25 am

    I agree, and as an old school graffiti artist, I am offended by not only this but some of the other inappropriate tagging I have seen as of late in some of my favorite places in Portland, like Joseph Wood Hill Park. (I think thats what the park is called…) that place is beautiful and provides an amazing 360 degree view of all of Portland and has beautiful stone work and wrought iron lamps and great landscape architecture and some a-hole decided it was going to be fun to throw up some shitty tags with rustoleum all over the place up there as well, I know the main theme of this article is the war memorial trashing and the disrespect that these idiots have for the peace message, but it just made me remember how sick I am of people who call themselves “taggers” who just don’t understand the basic respect that you should have for public spaces and memorials, urban blight is one thing, our parks and memorials are completely another… *blech* the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and I am not sure I am enjoying the ride…

  7. Devan Robbins (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 10:35 am

    sorry for the double posts, could someone clean this up for me? *hides head in shame*

  8. Kai Jones (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

    I sympathize with your dismay and outrage, but it’s not really a new low: people have been defacing memorials as a form of protest for a very long time. Years. Decades.

    Neither is it especially surprising that they included a swastika. A lot of people on the Left blame Jews for…nearly everything, come to think of it, from controlling the US (apparently we own the media and the Powerful Jewish Lobby controls the government) to war in the rest of the world (because if only Israel would commit suicide, the entire Middle East would go back to its peace-loving ways). Just check out DailyKos or IndyMedia.

  9. Petra (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

    Kai Jones wrote:
    > Neither is it especially surprising that they
    > included a swastika. A lot of people on the Left > blame Jews for…nearly everything…..

    Why would you write this?? “The left” is not responsible for this vile graffiti. The specific people who did it are responsible. They are the anti-semites, not an entire population who follow a particular ideology. Your “conclusion,” as unsound and irrational as it is, is as bigoted and narrow-minded as any racist would be. Wise up and start treating people as individuals instead of as mindless members of a supposed-mindless group.

  10. dieselboi (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 2:17 pm

    My point about the swastika is that it is used so much all over the place. You see it in bumper stickers on the back of volvos – what I interpret to be a liberal voting individual. Extrapolate that out further – would that same individual put a sticker of someone hanging from a noose from a tree? No, I don’t think so. Either is a horrible use of a symbol that equated to death for so many in this world’s history.

  11. Lelo (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

    Rock on, Dieselboi. And I for one, support the profanity. I totally fucking agree.

  12. divebarwife (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 3:32 pm

    The weird thing about the swastika – is that it used to mean peace – and there are places that have been around since before WWII where you’ll still see it – and it always takes me aback. I think it is too associated with evil now to ever be used – and I agree with everything you said db – but we lived in a house a few years ago and our neighbors had a reverse swastika built in brick into the outside of their chimney. Freaked us out a bit – but the house was built in like 1902 – just glad it wasn’t our house with the big bald boot wearing guy living inside :-)

  13. RM (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 9:40 pm

    I agree with the disgust at the defacing of a memorial. The idea that “tagging” is OK at all is to my mind silly. If you accept petty violations like this its just a slippery slope. Stamp out tagging whenever and wherever it occurs. Vandalism is bad period.

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