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Boyd Cave vandalized; law enforcement asking for community’s help

(Update: adding authorities' comments, video)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Central Oregon is known for its outdoors and recreation, but now one of its most beloved caves, Boyd Cave southeast of Bend, has been vandalized.

The Deschutes National Forest Service and the Deschutes County Sheriff's office have teamed up to try to find out who defaced a 1,900-foot lava tube with graffiti.

Eddie Cartaya of the Forest Service and Neil Marchington of the Sheriff's Office are spearheading the investigation.

"We're assisting the Forest Service in any way we can, to find these folks and bring them to justice," Marchington said Friday.

They believe it happened around Dec. 21.

Cartya said, "I think a lot of these people are completely unware of the ramifications or magnitude of what they're damaging."

Both men have been recreating in caves for decades and take the vandalism personally.

"To see people disregard caves and damage them, it does hit at a personal level," Cartaya said.

Marchington is also the chairman of the High Desert Grotto caving club, and said this crime hits home as well.

"I went to Redmond High School -- I'm a local guy," Marchington said. "This is where I learned how to cave as teenager."

With no leads and little evidence, they're now asking for the community's help to locate possible suspects.

"Graffiti in general tends to be unique to the person," Marchington said. "There's some pretty generic stuff you see, but some of these in this incident are specific."

Anarchy symbols, a Hello Kitty image, signatures of what appear to be 'm-r' and 's-k-e-w', and the word 'hellboy' line the cave.

"They're very unique," Marchington said. "They probably go back to a single person who believes that this is their art or their message."

The NSS (National Speleological Society) Cave Vandalism Deterrence Fund and Wanderlust Tours of Bend are putting up a $1,500 reward for tips leading to prosecution of those responsible

If caught, criminals could face jail time, fines and restitution.

For now, authorities are looking to the community for help.

"We're members of the community," Marchington said. "We love the outdoors just as much as anyone else in Bend, and we'd like to see these people prosecuted."

Those with information that could help in the investigation are asked to call Deschutes County's non-emergency dispatch number at 541-693-6911. You can also call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-877-876-TIPS. You can remain anonymous, and you could be eligible for a cash reward.

Central Oregon / Crime And Courts / Crime Stoppers / Deschutes County / Top Stories
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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.



      1. Well that was rude. Simple question. If it happened hundreds of years ago its history and it need to be preserved, if someone paints on a cave in present time its graffiti and should be erased?
        Oh I know we are more civilized…have you seen the news? Obviously we are not.

        1. It’s an interesting, multifaceted question.

          But the short of it is this: modern graffiti is common and easily replaced, old graffiti is not.

          So that prompts another question: how are we going to get new old graffiti later if we erase it all now? And the short answer to that is: we can’t erase it all. We’ll have plenty.

          Just like we clean up trash, and there’s still plenty of trash from every year of modern human existence out there.

          Speaking as someone who has cleaned up caves and has been in plenty of caves with preserved, historic graffiti, this spraypaint isn’t exactly something we’d want to keep. It’s not classy, and there’s nothing about it that could be construed as historic at any point in the future, beyond the wonder that comes from knowing someone was at a place at a time or realizing what kind of animals we used to be.

          Back in the day, the way caves were written in was… actually kind of amazing. The penmanship… It’s not really graffiti in the modern sense. Nowadays it’s more like a bunch of big F-words, Swastikas, and throw-ups.

          So, we have this bit of history from 100 to however-many thousands of years ago where we did this kind of thing. And that should be preserved. But as a species, we move on from littering and graffiti and leave marks for posterity in other ways.

  1. Ya, I contacted the DCSO and the Bend Police about a suspicions white van that moves up and down the streets of my neighborhood every two day, the license plate MOOK 13, it’s associated w/a well known graffiti artist currently based in the Portland area. I thought there might be a correlation between the two. Never heard back from either agency. They have better things to do than follow up on possible leads because they have to look out for revenue from the beer soaked denizens of Bend.

  2. I meant suspicious. Gunther was responsible for numerous acts of vandalism throughout Portland, Oregon. Primarily, he was spray-painting his “tag” on private property, which included Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) property.[26]

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