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Crime And Courts

Vandals drill 7 holes in Tumalo Irrigation District pipeline; reward offered

Tuimalo Irrigation District pipeline vandalism hole
Tumalo Irrigation District
Hole found drilled by vandals in Tumalo Irrigation District pipeline
Tumalo Irrigation District canal piping
Tumalo Irrigation District
Tumalo Irrigation District canal piping project

District official can't recall anything similar in years of construction

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Tumalo Irrigation District is offering a reward of up to $12,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of vandals who drilled several holes in a 36-inch pipeline, part of a canal-piping project, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.

The sheriff’s office received a report on March 27 of criminal mischief to the irrigation district’s new pipeline in the 18000 block of Pinehurst Road, Sgt. Jayson Janes said.

Deputies and detectives are conducting an investigation and asking for the public’s help in finding whoever is responsible for the vandalism, believed to have occurred in mid-January, when the trench was open and pipe in place.

Anyone with information that might help is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 541-693-6911, reference Case No. 21-15441.

Canal-piping projects have been controversial now and then on the High Desert, as many residents lose a water feature they have enjoyed for many years, and some have taken legal action to block or change them.

But irrigation district Interim General Manager Chris Schull said, "As long as I've been doing construction and around irrigation, I've never experienced anything like this, and neither has Taylor Northwest," the project contractor.

Seven holes were discovered along a 330-foot section of pipe, he said.

Here's a statement from the irrigation district:

Tumalo Irrigation District Offers Reward Following Pipe Vandalism

Tumalo Irrigation District is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest and a $10,000 reward for information leading to a conviction after its new pipeline near Pinehurst Road was recently found to have been vandalized. During final inspections and testing of the new pipeline, it was discovered that multiple holes were intentionally and unlawfully drilled into the pipeline. It is believed that between January 6th and 13th, the vandal climbed into the then open trench and drilled multiple holes in the 36” polyethylene pipeline.

The pipeline is part of a 3 1/2-mile state and federally funded system improvement project intended to leave more water in area streams and rivers while providing farmers with pressurized, more reliable water for crops.

The irrigation district is working with its contractors and engineers as quickly as it can to repair the damaged pipeline, so water can be delivered to farmers later this month. The estimated cost to repair the damage is $125,000 to $250,000. After the repairs are completed, the irrigation district and its engineers will determine whether the repairs are sufficient or if the damaged section of pipeline will need to be replaced entirely.

The irrigation district, which has been in existence for over 100 years, provides water to 684 patrons that irrigate 7,350 acres of land to grow a variety of crops and dairy products. 

Business / Central Oregon / Deschutes County / News / Top Stories

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.



  1. With the potential of a quarter million dollars worth of vandalism, Hummel had better bring felony charges in this case (especially since the act is in fact an act of environmental sabotage).

        1. he called it “environmental sabotage” – even if your wild fantasies are true (there really is a boogy man under every bed – how else could they get to you to act like such a loon) – how is this sabotaging the environment? – it may well be someone sabotaging a pipe someone built, but not “the environment” – do you ever even think about anything, or just go off like an emo hair trigger?

    1. I doubt that. This looks planned by either environmental terrorists, local leftists (aka the Clownkeepers, etc.) who are fighting against hsving the transients moved so the project can get done or a combination of both. They creatures have an agenda and will stop at nothing to get what they want.

      1. Doubtful. The lefties like the pipes because they keep more water in the river. The ones complaining about the piping are entitled property owners who think that the irrigation district owes them a nice view of an open canal with babbling water.

        1. Of course, their are eco terrorists who believe nowtwr should be diverted from the fish and frogs. It’s a little harder to effectively damage a canal vs a pipe. Ridiculous regardless.of who the vandal is.

    2. Doubt it, probably a bitter property owner that’s getting ready to lose their backyard canal. Seems like an easy investigation to me, just walk up and down that canal. Ask the property owners if they’ve seen anything funny, person responsibility will probably stick out like a sore thumb.

  2. I don’t believe for a second that the holes can’t be welded (I know it’s not metal) or plugged by some means that could be completed fast and cheap verses replacing pipe.

  3. Of course, therw are eco terrorists who believe no water should be diverted from the fish and frogs. It’s a little harder to effectively damage a canal vs a pipe. Ridiculous regardless of who the vandal is.

  4. Well, you can’t stand in the way of progress and Central Oregon is growing by the second. That is a fact and isn’t going to get wished away. Less water loss is a good thing, however, the Tumalo Reservoir was man-made over a hundred years ago and has been used by wildlife needing water for generations. Drying it up in a single season and having no plans to leave a few “watering holes” was a typical, selfish human intervention. Not a tree-hugger but for those who recreate, hunt and fish around here..leaving access to a little water for wildlife would have been a nice touch.

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