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Pride Flags in Boise's North End targeted for the fourth year in a row

Posted at 6:06 PM, Jun 12, 2024

BOISE, Idaho — Police are investigating the theft and vandalism of approximately 20 Pride flags on Harrison Blvd in Boise. The North End Association is working with neighbors to replace the stolen and damaged flags.

  • Incidents like these have become an annual occurrence in connection to yearly Pride Flags in the North End.
  • Boise Police ask that residents call with any information they may have on the incident.
  • A representative for Boise Pride Festival tells Idaho News 6 "Boise Pride condemns the recent acts of vandalism targeting Pride flags hanging on Harrison Blvd."

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

"What happens is these guys who are going around destroying these, they pull up and it just bends the pole. Sometimes they get them out and sometimes they just cut the flag off," said Erik Hagen, President of the North End Neighborhood Association.

When North End Neighborhood Association President Erik Hagen heard the Pride flags on Harrison Blvd were damaged—yet again—he decided to take action immediately, banding together with other neighbors to create new flagpoles.

Boise police are now investigating after roughly 20 flags were stolen or vandalized: two damaged on the night of June 3rd, and the rest reported on the morning of June 11th. This is the fourth year in a row Pride flags along the historic North End street were targeted.

I spoke with a Boise Pride Festival representative, who told me the organization condemns the recent acts of vandalism targeting the Pride flags hanging on Harrison Blvd, and that they will work closely with law enforcement to identify those responsible.

"Why do people want to waste their energy on that? It confounds us," says Hagen.

Longtime North End resident Leslie Scantling mirrors that sentiment. "It's just a little bit sad that somebody would take it upon themselves to, ya know, tear down a little bit of what we're all trying to do by lifting each other up," said Scantling.

Scantling is the founder of Flock Cancer, and each year her organization hangs flags along Harrison Blvd, which North End neighbor Shelley Smith points out have never been stolen or vandalized.

"There was no problem when we did Flock Cancer. We need to stay away from controversial flags on the Blvd. They just keep taking down and destroying the flags, which is a shame. It breaks the holders! And it just makes me very sad," added Smith.

This most recent act comes during the nationally recognized Pride Month and during a time that some Idahoans have been outspoken against embracing LGBTQ values. At last weekend's first-ever Canyon County Pride Festival, a small group of protestors shared their opposing views.

Meanwhile, in the North End, Hagen and his neighbors will focus on replacing those flags and speaking out against hate and vandalism.

"It's just sad to see this kind of hatred, it really has no place," added Hagen.