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White Nationalist Banners Reported In Tacoma, Gig Harbor

"I-5 northbound from S Delin Street" by SounderBruce is licensed under CC by 2.0
A view of I-5 from the Delin Street overpass, where a witness reporting seeing a white nationalist banner on Nov. 4, 2017

People driving through Tacoma on Saturday evening say they saw a banner with the phrase "white lives matter" unfurled over I-5. 

It's the latest in a string of white nationalist messages reported in Pierce County.

A witness reported seeing the banner hanging from the Delin Street overpass, not far from the Tacoma Dome, about 5:20 p.m. Saturday, said Tacoma Police Officer Shelbie Boyd.

The witness also reported seeing two people standing on the overpass, yelling and waving American flags, Boyd said. 

By the time officers arrived about 35 minutes later, the people and the banner were gone. 

The incident is similar to one that happened about a week earlier in Gig Harbor. 

Police received a report of a banner with the phrase "America is white" hanging over Rte. 16, from the Wollochet Drive overpass, said Gig Harbor Police Chief Kelly Busey. 

Again, the banner wasn't there when police arrived. Busey estimated it had been hanging for "less than 10 minutes." 

Pierce County Council Member Derek Young said he saw fliers with the white nationalist phrase "blood and soil" posted this summer in his Gig Harbor neighborhood, along Borgen Boulevard. 

"My suspicion is that a lot of what is going on nationally has brought these folks out of the dark," Young said.

"If you talk to people of color, they'll say it never went away," he added. "But it was sort of out of sight." 

News of the messages spread on social media over the weekend, after the latest incident in Tacoma. 


KNKX has not been able to independently confirm that photos posted on Twitter purporting to show the banner are from the same incident reported to Tacoma police.

Young said he suspects a small group of people, rather than an organized network, is responsible for spreading the messages.

But he said it's important for elected leaders and residents to call out such incidents as unacceptable.

"It just never occurred to me that this was something that I would see here, closer to home," he said. "It also makes me want to make sure that we say something, because it's not acceptable and never can be."

Will James is a former KNKX reporter and was part of the special projects team, reporting and producing podcasts such as Outsiders and The Walk Home.