A sandblasting crew has added dashes to a Kurt Cobain quote on a memorial stone to censor its potentially offensive language after it sparked widespread controversy.
Tori Kovach recently added the stone to the KC Riverfront Park as part of a memorial for the late Nirvana frontman and Aberdeen native. He said he called the crew Thursday afternoon in the wake of pressure from city officials.
“I don’t fault them for it,” Kovach said of the sandblasted editing of the stone. “It’s just a shame that it has to be that way. … It just seems to have been an action that’s gone too far.”
As part of an unofficial park on both private property and a city right of way, the polished granite marker split city officials and residents over the public use of the F-word on one of eight quotes on the stone included around a portrait of Cobain. The local debate has spread with news stories nationwide.
“Drugs are bad for you,” the quote states. “They will f*** you up.” Three dashes have now been added in place of the last three letters.
Aberdeen City Councilwoman Kathy Hoder said she took it upon herself to convince Kovach to censor the word after becoming fed up with the controversy.
“I’ll take all the blame,” she said this morning.
The city’s Public Works Committee had reviewed the matter with the expectation of offering a recommendation to the City Council next Wednesday. Hoder said the city has more important things to do than get tied up in discussion over a curse word.
“I just thought our town was a better town than that,” she said.
Hoder acknowledged many may not be happy with the alteration, but she said the stone remains a beautiful addition to the park and a welcome tourist attraction.
She added she donated her city council paycheck to Grays Harbor Monument as payment for the sandblasting work.
“I just went and got it fixed,” she said. “It’s resolved. Hopefully everybody’s happy with it.”
Kovach said he expected the city to ask him to alter the marker, but felt officials were only interested in killing the controversy surrounding it.
“I anticipated this was coming,” he said. “I was resigned to it.”
Kovach said he was given the impression he should deal with it sooner rather than later. He contacted Grays Harbor Monument, who crafted the marker, and asked them to change the word.
They drove a truck to the park near the Young Street Bridge on Thursday and made the alterations on-site with a sandblasting tool.
“I would categorize it as defaced,” Kovach said of the changes. “The result is ugly.”
Public Works Director Larry Bledsoe said he had told Hoder he planned to recommend censoring the word from the marker at next week’s meeting, but no official decision had been made.
“Nobody was ordered to do it,” he said. “That’s just what my recommendation was.”