BOULDER, Colo. — The Parks and Recreation Department in Boulder washed away a memorial that had been chalked onto the Pearl Street Mall as a tribute to the victims in the Orlando, Fla., nightclub shooting, the Boulder Daily Camera reported Wednesday.
The names and ages of the 49 victims who died, along with “Orlando,” were chalked onto bricks on the walkway and planters in the 1300 block of the pedestrian mall on Tuesday.
Duncan Tucker told the newspaper that he was passing by when he saw a group of three or four people writing the names of the victims when other people joined in.
“Old people, teenagers, it was really moving,” Tucker told the newspaper. “Some people were crying when they were writing them. Some people would just stop and look.”
But a city employee told the Daily Camera that he was told by his supervisor to wash away the writings. A spokeswoman told the newspaper that it’s the city’s policy to remove any chalk artwork because it encourages further graffiti and the chalk can get into the city’s storm-water runoff.
“In no way was it meant to be disrespectful,” Denise White told the newspaper. “When there are coordinated displays — no matter how well intended — it is our policy to remove it as soon as possible because any impromptu display tends to encourage graffiti.
“Of course, our thoughts and our prayers are with those affected by this heartbreaking act of violence. It was just what we needed to kind of get done this morning.”