MADRAS, Ore. - Vandalism is escalating on a popular Madras trail. This city is reporting thousands of dollars worth of damage within the last month.
The M Hill Trail opened in 2012.
“The view is really nice. In fact, it’s kind of spectacular,” Annette Thomas said Friday. She moved to Madras three years ago and hikes the trail often.
Sara Puddy, the city's human resources administrative manager, said vandalism has been a problem since the trail opened, and within the last month it’s gotten worse.
The marble compass centerpiece has been smashed. “About half of it has been broken out, crushed out,” Puddy said. “It’s (also) been tagged up. Our operation manager confirmed he’s having to clean this off literally on a weekly basis.”
The compass is the most visibly damaged, but the benches and lights also have been chipped and smashed.
“We have 30 lights on this trail section,” Puddy said, “and we’re looking at about a dozen of them that have been broken beyond repair that we have to replace.”
Buddy estimates the damage to be between $10,000 and $12,000. The marble alone is $2,500 and the lights are between $500 and $1,000 to replace, depending on the severity.
The lights are already on order, because not having them is a safety issue, but the city is looking at a more durable option for the compass.
“So metal, for example, will be able to withstand more before it’s actually damaged,” Puddy said.
City officials are still discussing options, but want the community to know they know how much the trail means to them and are working on a solution.
“Our community is passionate about this project, and we’re going to do everything in our power to keep it from being vandalized,” Puddy said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Madras Police Department at 541-475-2424.