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Dozens of trees, street signs toppled, destroyed in NW Bend; police seek tips, damage tally rises

Westside Bend tree vandalism Harry Miller Susy Demeester
Harry Miller, Susy Demeester
Dismayed, angry NW Bend residents posted, shared photos of trees, street signs destroyed late Friday or early Saturday

(Update: City, Bend police, school district tally damage, seek info)

Dismayed residents call damage 'awful,' 'senseless'; police say they have no leads

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Bend police said Sunday they are seeking citizen information, witnesses and security video as they try to find whoever left behind a trail of costly vandalism in northwest Bend late Friday or early Saturday, including dozens of toppled roadside trees and damaged street and school signs.

Upset residents posted reports and photos to the neighborhood social media app Nextdoor and reached out to NewsChannel 21 to report about 30 knocked-over trees and several street signs along NW Crosby Drive, Crossing Drive and Skyline Ranch Road, behind Pacific Crest Middle School and Summit High School.

Damage also was reported to several metal signs in the Summit High School parking lot, where a resident posted that it’s likely “the same person or group of people ran into and knocked over all the metal street signs. It's terrible. All the signs in the parking lot are bent over and vandalized."

Residents said police were out in the area investigating on Saturday, while city Public Works crews also were surveying the damage and installing temporary street signs.

Another resident said on Nextdoor that about 30 trees, with trunks 4-6 inches in diameter, were knocked down between Summit High School and Elwood Lane, by Pacific Crest Middle School, with “only six left standing along the same stretch.”

Based on the tread and spacing of the tracks, she said it appeared to be “an off-road vehicle of some type, with a sharp, heavy attachment – a snowplow probably – protecting the front. The vehicle drove up and over each tree after breaking it off a couple inches from the ground, all without stopping.”

Residents called the destruction "awful," "senseless" -- even "horrific" -- and said they hope whoever is responsible is caught, perhaps with a reward offered to help make it happen.

Bend police Sgt. Scott Dickerson said Sunday they would appreciate any information that could help them find whoever did the widespread damage.

“Right now, we have no leads, no information,” he said, asking anyone with information to contact police through the non-emergency number, 541-693-6911.

He said the citizen’s report of the type of vehicle likely involved sounds accurate, that it was probably a snowplow or vehicle with a brush-guard steel bumper.

Police Communications Manager Sheila Miller provided an update Monday, saying a total of 32 trees were knocked down and 10 signs damaged.

She said the same vehicle is suspected of also doing "doughnuts" on the lawn in front of Summit.

"We continue to investigate and seek witnesses or video that may shed light on who is responsible for this," Miller said. "Whoever did it would likely be charged with first-degree criminal mischief."

The city estimated the tree replacement costs at above $45,000, not including labor and sign replacement, Communications Director Anne Aurand said Monday.

Five signs were damaged at Summit High School, Bend-La Pine Schools spokeswoman Alandra Johnson said, causing damage estimated to cost at least $1,000. Despite the driving on the lawn, it wasn't damaged, as it's currently dormant, she said.

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts
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Barney Lerten

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

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