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During City Council’s meeting on September 2, following up on a pair of letters submitted to the Council record, eight members of the Salida public spoke in person and online, voicing their concerns about the vandalism occurring throughout the city.

As previously reported by Ark Valley Voice, there has been a significant rise in crime over the past few weeks within Salida. What concerned the speakers the most is that these incidents appear to be more than random acts of petty vandalism.

Those members of the public expressing their opinions said this feels as if it is deliberate intimidation and meant to be symbolic. They said it is aimed at the property of specific persons and appears directed to instill a sense of fear among community members.

Many who spoke said they felt it was “motivated by bias”; targeting individuals who stand up against such bias.

Salida Police have confirmed that most of the vandalism that has occurred on both City and private property has involved the destruction of LGBTQ+ signs and flags, as well as signs promoting Black Lives Matter and other prominent social issues that have come to the forefront nationally, as well as in Colorado and locally.

Screenshot taken during Salida City Council work session on August 31.

Members of the public who commented ranged from concerned parents, to local business owners, to members of the LGBTQ+ community. All showed concern and outrage for what has happened over the course of the past weeks with many describing these as “hate crimes”.

In response to the public comments and vandalism that has occurred, the City Council expressed a desire to work with the Salida Police on investigations as well as promote Salida as a “Safe Space”, much as schools promote safe spaces.

“I appreciate everyone that came in tonight and I am sorry for the fear and angst that our community, particularly some of our more vulnerable members of our community are going through. There really is no place for that in Salida,” said Salida Mayor P.T. Wood. “I apologize for not being more vocal about our efforts. We’re doing our best and I hope that folks don’t think we’re ignoring this or being utterly silent because we are not doing that purposefully.”