(Update: Adding video, Bend Police Dept. comment; vandal caught, charged)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Brooks Park off Newport Avenue in Bend was hit with graffiti Thursday morning, much to the chagrin of worried area residents. Park officials work to cover such vandalism quickly -- and police caught and made an arrest in a nearby park vandalism case earlier this week.
Public parks have been a getaway for many Bend residents throughout the pandemic, but some neighbors of Brooks Park say they believe too many people are visiting for the wrong reasons.
A small dock near Drake Road, primarily used for river access, was covered in black graffiti. The Bend Veterans Peace Memorial, within the park, also showed dark markings over the names of some of the fallen soldiers that date back to World War I.
After several complaints from the surrounding neighborhood, a Bend Park and Recreation District crew promptly covered the graffiti within hours.
"Our crew works really hard to trying to get any instances of graffiti cleaned up within 24 hours of knowing about them. So we do appreciate when the community members notice something," park district spokeswoman Julie Brown said Friday.
Despite the successful cleanups, some nearby residents are still troubled by vandalism in public places so close to their homes.
One neighbor, Linda Alwhite, voiced her desire for more awareness from Bend Park and Rec, so the community can work together to deter such crimes.
"It would be nice if things happened like this in the future and Park and Rec made us aware of it." Alwhite said. "They're spending a lot of time and money to clean up this stuff, and if we could help prevent it, it would be great."
Bend police Sgt. Tommy Russell told us a woman was charged after being caught vandalizing Drake Park across the river on Tuesday. He said they believe there is a connection between the two instances.
Russell said the woman, originally from Bend, returned to her hometown to express her personal beliefs -- but did so in a criminal fashion.
Residents near Brooks Park are urging visitors to respect the place they call home.