Man tries to cut down HIV30 project from Broadway’s red wall

(Images: CHS)

A man witnesses say was using a cutting instrument to calmly attempt to slice away and remove a new community art project on the Broadway light rail construction wall ran from the scene after passersby intervened to stop him Sunday afternoon.

According to witnesses, a woman confronted the man as he continued to slice down the large installation commemorating 30 years of HIV/AIDS in Seattle. As other witnesses called police, the man eventually ran from the scene. We have not yet confirmed details of the incident with police.

Geraldine DeRuiter of The Everywhereist said she witnessed the confrontation and that the woman’s stand helped stop the man from destroying the project.

The project is the first of three sections planned for the wall. It depicts a timeline of the HIV/AIDS epidemic including both local and national events. The project was officially unveiled Thursday night in a ceremony organized by the creators of the project. More information can be found at

Here’s a note we received from Sam, another witness who saw the confrontation:

I work at a store nearby and saw a man cut the new HIV infographic on Broadway at about 1:50pm.  He was stopped by a few bystanders.  From what I saw, it was a girl who was confronting him as he was ripping the left and right sides off.  They are now trying to tape back the ripped peices of the sign. 

The construction wall — or the red wall, as it is known — is in place as a noise reduction measure for Sound Transit’s light rail station and tunnel boring site on Broadway between John and Denny. The wall — more than 20-feet tall in some sections — is host to a series of works part of Sound Transit’s STart public art program.

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27 thoughts on “Man tries to cut down HIV30 project from Broadway’s red wall

  1. How hard would it be for someone to pull out their phone, and take a picture… THEN call the police.

    Pretty fucking simple!!!

    A: Get an ID
    B: Evidence in the trial
    C: Shows common sense!

  2. The staff at SGN worried last week as we published our story, that vandals would be a problem. SGN will put up $500.00 to help cover the art with protective plastic. Will work on it Monday…. in conjunction with Gay City, Sound Transit, the City, Pride, CHCC and other community groups.

    Need to mount 24 hour security cameras at once, too.

    We cannot/will NOT be intimidated by such actions.

    Justin, are you in?

    George Bakan

  3. WTF that is not his personal art to tear down wish the cops would have busted him. Doubt he was someone who liked it so much they just had to have it.

  4. I’ve sen an older white man in his late 50’s to early 60’s cutting, scraping, and ripping down all sorts of things around the hill for the last few years. Just saw him rip off some graffiti type stickers from a dumpster and then scratch up the ‘do not play on, in….’ sticker two weeks ago. Wonder if it’s the same guy?

  5. Nah, that’s a neighbor guy who takes down posters off the light poles, etc. and random stickers from dumpsters and places they shouldn’t be. It would not have been him.

  6. Not the same guy. The person you describe is a friend of mine and he is just trying to make his neighborhood a little less trashy by removing illegal posters/stickers from public property. I approve of and am thankful for what he does. Do you have a problem with it? If so, what are YOU doing to better your neighborhood?

  7. I agree that the first thing to be done is to call 911, but of course the response time for something like this is usually slow and the perpetrator is long gone when they arrive. And, believe it or not, everyone does not carry a cell phone.

  8. No, calhoun, your friend does not remove illegal posters, etc. At least not exclusively. I have photographed him removing very legal first amendment constitutional free speech posters. He’s a bit of an overzealous shitbag for that.

  9. when somebody is standing on a public sidewalk with a sharp object, people are generally afraid to confront such a “shitbag” I understand that. Hats off to the person who DID confront him.

    It’s a shame nobody managed to get a cell phone picture.

  10. Easy fix for the response time issue… Just say “he has a weapon”

    Which he did, a knife or whatever he was using.

  11. I am bettering my neighborhood by putting fun stickers and posters on boring poles, signs and dumpsters. This way the neighborhood can remain artistic and interesting.

    Bellevue is free of artwork if that is your thing.

  12. How typical…whenever anyone objects to trashy posters and graffiti, the answer always comes back “move to Bellevue”. Maybe we need a few more poster kiosks in Pike/Pine, like at Broadway and Harrison, so the streets don’t have to always look like a trash-strewn mess.

  13. Love the color and the information put on poles. Have used many times for event information, etc.

    And you tell me it is poor marketing? Not street art? Silly/stuffy comment.

  14. Above.

    Hey, have gone to dozens of evens over a few years from pole fliers? Why pray tell, except your bias, is that not event information?

    By the way, it is free speech as well. Oh, that old thing, maybe repeal that in favor of clean poles, too?

  15. Would not be surprised if it’s the crazy neo-nazi dudes that have been hanging out in front of dick’s lately. One of them is just scary insane racist.

  16. Wow, this is SOOOO out of the ordinary for Capitol Hill: someone grew a pair and actually CONFRONTED someone and stopped the criminal act! I thought all Capitol Hill liberal shitbags could do was “express concern” and “make our voices heard” and then go about their business with a feel of self-satisfaction. Lesson learned, liberal idiots: you stop bad things by STOPPING them, not by whining. Remember that when the shitbag Democrats YOU elect fuck you over.

  17. Yes, posters are allowed, but they are regulated and there are rules about what can and cannot be done (SDOT “Director’s Rule” 02-02, effective January 2003). Unfortunately, these rules are almost completely ignored and the vast majority of the stuff on poles and other public structures is illegal. Therefore, my friend IS removing posters that are not allowed, and again I thank him for it.

    Stickers are another issue. Councilman Burgess proposed adding them to the anti-graffiti ordinance last December, but as far as I know this has not been done…yet.

    To the person who thinks his stickers/posters are attractive street art….you have GOT to be kidding! They are very negative/trashy elements to our streetscape.

  18. Calhoun,

    You could improve your neighborhood by publishing guidelines on what is art and what isn’t art. Then we can all make sure to work within the rules of art as defined by cranky old “get off my lawn” guy.

  19. As a women who is in a photo on the wall,I feel vulnerable and exposed. My willingness to be part of the HIV30 was a risk and a reward. The risk is clearly being “out” as HIV positive and the reward was to raise awareness of the risk of HIV in the community.I hope that others will look at the installation in a new way, understanding the stigma that still exists for HIV positive people in our community.
    Thank you George for continuing to keep the community informed.

  20. If people (like you?) would just respect the postering regulations, and stay in compliance with them, we wouldn’t have to talk about what is art and what is not.