Crews with the City of Oregon City Parks and Recreation have been faced with an increasing amount of vandalism and graffiti at local park facilities in the past few months, forcing them to alter work plans to respond to the damage.
“We have a large number of parks and other facilities our crews need to maintain,” said Parks and Recreation Director Kendall Reid. “When we keep diverting staff to handle these problems, it limits our ability to focus on other maintenance issues that the public wants to see done, that we want to be able to perform,” he said.
Crews responded to 13 incidents the last two weeks alone. Those included graffiti at the pool, Chapin Park and the Richard Bloom Tot Lot, a burned toilet seat at Jon Storm Park and garbage dumped at Clackamette Cove.
“This amount is about average for a week’s worth of work unfortunately,” Reid said.
Different parks often see different culprits behind the damage, according to Reid.
“In some parks we’re seeing damage from homeless, others the vandalism is from teens. The graffiti is most often from teens,” he said.
The Oregon City Police Department said the issue is one they’ve been trying to address.
“Our officers routinely patrol our park areas to be a visible presence in an effort dissuade people from vandalism,” said Sgt. David Edwins with OCPD. “Unfortunately, it only takes a couple of moments for these acts to occur, which is why the ongoing partnership we have with our community members is paramount to our success in combating these acts of vandalism.”
Sgt. Edwins said residents should remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity.
“We know how much our residents value their parks. We’re asking residents to help by notifying us when they see something out of place. If you see anyone vandalizing our City parks, please call 911 so we can respond.”
In addition to coordinating efforts with the Oregon City Police Department, other proactive efforts the City has taken include a contract with Oregon Patrol Service to provide additional presence in the parks.
In the meantime, crews will continue their work to keep Oregon City Parks accessible for all.
“Ensuring our parks are able to be enjoyed by everyone in the community is our top priority. We’ll continue to ensure that they remain open and accessible,” said Reid.