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'Go back to Cali' String of graffiti draws attention to Bogus Basin Road

Graffiti along Bogus Basin Road. (CBS2)
Graffiti along Bogus Basin Road. (CBS2)
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People traveling up Bogus Basin Road may have seen the latest string of graffiti to hit the area.

The graffiti stretches for miles up the road. Several of the messages popped up in the last week. 'Go back to Cali' is just one of the messages painted on the roadside barriers.

Traffic on Bogus Basin Road is frequent, yet one or more people were able to pull over several times to paint the messages. In 2019, the Ada County Highway District completed 48 graffiti removals across its territory. In 2020, it completed 33 removals.

Vietnamese immigrant Nguyen Thai has been in Idaho for more than a decade. He believes the graffiti sends a negative message to others who have come to live here.

"If I was a new migrant, I certainly would not feel welcome here at all," Thai said. "Maybe even feel threatened."

Boise woman Brittany Earle believes it's freedom of speech, and that people have a right to write those messages, even if she doesn't necessarily agree with them.

"I think it's kind of funny, when you first see it," Earle said. "But obviously some people are a little salty."

People at the Ada County Highway District are working to clean up the graffiti. But that takes time away from some of their other jobs.

Natalie Shaver, a public information specialist at the ACHD, explained the situation.

"Our crews are waiting to do the cleanup on this," Shaver said. "We need it to dry up and for it to be warm enough so when we apply the paint it won't peel off."

Of course, if there's a snowstorm, clearing the roads will be their first priority. Still, the graffiti is keeping them busy. They've had to clean up similar messages painted on the roadside on four separate occasions in 2020.

Not all the messages are negative.

Some urge Californians to stay here, saying people who want them gone are in the minority.

"Overall, I think there's both good and bad people out there," Thai said. "So we can't really just generalize that Californians are bad people who are moving in."

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The ACHD estimates that each time it has to clean graffiti from the roadside, it costs between $50 to $2,000.

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