BEND, Ore. - Bend Park and Recreation District staff began cleaning up graffiti on a beloved boat play structure at Harmon Park on Monday as authorities continued to seek tips to find who was responsible for that vandalism and more at Al Moody Park over the weekend.
Cleaning, prepping and repainting the boat "will be done as quickly as possible," the park district said, adding that it's expected it "will take park staff two to three days to return the boat back to ship-shape."
Amid cries of outrage from upset citizens, the park district said Denfeld Paints has donated cleaning and paint supplies worth $250 to the project. Both the cleaning materials and paint are non-toxic, they said, and the boat will be painted in the same color scheme as before.
"A long-time fixture in Harmon Park playground, the boat has a special place in many people's hearts, and the community response to this incident has been passionate, especially through social media," said park district Marketing Manager Colleen McNally.
"The outpouring of concern and offers of help are certainly appreciated," McNally added. "It just shows how much this community loves that boat and park."
Police were notified early Saturday of the Harmon Park vandalism, and they learned Sunday morning that Al Moody Park's walls also were covered in spray paint.
Police say it is likely the same individual or group that tagged both facilities, as the words "Night Owls" and "Grinch" were written at both locations.
Police say they will be patrolling the parks overnight. They add there have been similar incidents at other parks, as such locations are unfortunately easy targets. The parks are supposed to be closed after the sun goes down, but there aren't any security cameras nearby.
Even with the vandalism, families still showed up to use the parks on a sunny, warm autumn weekend. Some were shocked and surprised such behavior could happen in a smaller city like Bend.
"It's really important. My kid is over there having a blast," Taylor Schepps said. "They don't really notice, because they're in their own world. But I've been to some parks and have been kind of offended like, ‘Really? You're going to tag up a little kids' park? If you want to do art, go do it somewhere else.'"
More than 100 comments from mad, sad and upset residents were posted on the item on NewsChannel 21's Facebook page, several offering to help paint over and clean up the graffiti. Many said it was their favorite park when they were growing up.
"Older kids with nothing better to do with their lives ... what a shame!" wrote Mrsroad Runner.
Police say they have no suspects, but are actively investigating the cases. Anyone with information is urged to contact police at (541) 693-6911. As a Crime Stoppers case, you can remain anonymous -- and you could be eligible for a cash reward.