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Video: vandals defacing rainbow crosswalk in Missoula

Posted at 5:09 PM, Aug 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-24 19:09:38-04

EmpowerMT installed a “rainbow” crosswalk on Sunday near the Missoula Art Museum to show support for the LGBTQ community.

But just days after being installed, video shows the crosswalk being vandalized by a group of motorcyclists.

EmpowerMT says no taxpayer money was used to install the sidewalk and none is being allocated for maintenance costs.

“We did not want any of the burden to fall on our taxpayers. Our private donors and organizations covered all of the costs,” said EmpowerMT Youth Programs Director Claire Michelson.

Safety to the public was also strongly considered during the project.

“The people who helped us over at the city took safety very seriously,” Michelson said. “That was definitely their first priority was making sure that it was going to be safe and it was going to be in compliance with all the regulations.”

It was a long and thought-out process which showed EmpowerMT youth leaders the ropes of municipal government and provided some valuable experience going forward.

“That was one of the most exciting parts for me was to watch our youth meet with John Engenand meet with these people from the city and have a positive experience. Doing that was so special.”

After all that hard work, repairs are already needed for a crosswalk that has only been completed for four days.

“I think this is a good reminder for people that we still are experiencing a lot of hate.”

The outpouring of community assistance might also show some LGBTQ members that they do have support from people in the Garden City.

“It’s easy to focus on the negative and the really hateful comments and acts of vandalism, but I think that we all have to keep in mind so we can keep moving forward together, that there is a lot of positive support and the more that we can focus on that the more that we can keep going.”

Story by Kent Luetzen – MTN News