Bend residents rally to help out vandalized parks

Park district flooded with calls from community

Bend rallies around parks hit with vandalism

BEND, Ore. - There may only be a few people repainting the vandalized boat at Harmon Park, but behind Bend Park and Rec stands an army of support.

"It's that time and effort that people want to put in to make this right again -- it's exceptionally impressive,"  Mark Ellington, the park district's facilities and construction manager, said Monday.

Two of the park district's parks were tagged with graffiti over the weekend.

Graffiti covered Harmon Park's beloved boat, and it was scrawled across a wall at Al Moody Park.

Park officials say dealing with vandalism is routine, but the love pouring from the community is a nice surprise.

"We walked them through cleanup, prep, and redo, and we decided to just go ahead and donate the products and eradicate the problem right away," said Denfeld Paint sales associate Daryl Peterson.

Peterson said the store donated paint, supplies to clean the graffiti and other items to help with prep work.

Ellington said the park district received dozens and dozens of phone calls over the last couple of days.

NewsChannel 21 received more than 150 comments on Facebook postings -- people who want to help and a community both outraged and saddened.

"Whenever I ask them (grandchildren) where they want to come, they want to come to the 'boat park,'" said Harmon Park visitor and Bend resident Jill Plattner.

"It definitely does kind of just put a damper on the experience of bringing the kids here," said Powell Butte resident Merry Irwin, who took her kids to Al Moody Park on Monday.

"I think coming here and targeting the things the kids love. I don't know it just doesn't make sense," Plattner said.

Ellington said the district spends thousands of dollars each year cleaning up graffiti. The price tag to clean up the boat alone will cost about $1,000 -- they are crimes hard to solve.

"At nighttime, the lighting is terrible," Ellington said. "We can't put cameras everywhere, though we do try. We're certainly going to pick up on that some more."

Still it's one sad story with a happy ending.

"This isn't just a fresh coat of paint on a favorite landmark of the park," Ellington said. "It was a reaffirmation for everybody, how important features like that truly are."

Bend police are still looking for suspects on both cases, they do believe the same person or group tagged both parks.

There's a Crime Stoppers cash reward if you can help track down the vandals. Anyone with information is asked to call Bend police at 541-693-6911. You can remain anonymous.

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