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Taggers leave behind anti-religion messages on Beaverton church

Police say vandalism not gang symbols but work of mischievous youth
by: Jaime Valdez, Ross Puderbaugh, an employee with Beaverton Operations Department, wipes off
graffiti on the glass doors to the entrance of Pilgrim Lutheran Church and
School in Beaverton Thursday afternoon. The church was vandalized with
graffiti Wednesday night.

As parents scrubbed down classrooms inside Pilgrim Lutheran Church and School on Thursday afternoon, a team from Beaverton's Operations Department cleaned graffiti marring the outside of the building.

Beaverton police were called to the church around 8 a.m., after employees discovered upside-down crosses and other messages tagged with black-spray paint on several church signs, two sets of doors and a wood shed.

When Officers Derek Bell and Richard Rayniak arrived at the church, 5650 S.W. Hall Blvd., they immediately spotted graffiti on the glass doors of the east entrance into the building that read 'God Free Youth' with upside-down crosses on each side and the initials 'CFT' and 'K1S' underneath.

Black crosses were also sprayed over two small church signs on nearby brick pillars.

The police officers met with Kim Trine, the church secretary and office manager.

Trine escorted the officers around the exterior of the building to point out two upside-down black crosses on a set of wood doors, one on the east side of a wood shed and three on a large, stand-alone church sign facing Hall Boulevard.

Police believe taggers hit the church property sometime between 9 p.m. Wednesday when the Christ Care Ministry group left the building and 7 a.m. when office staff and child care employees arrived for work.

Bell took photos of the graffiti and returned to the Beaverton Police Department, where he contacted city staff to see if anyone would be available to assist the church with graffiti removal.

Officers will compare the photos with other reports of graffiti in the area to see if they can identify who is responsible, said Officer Mark Hyde, Beaverton police spokesman.

'The graffiti does not have common characteristics associated with gangs in this area,' Hyde added. 'This is a case of criminal mischief with the use of graffiti.'

No arrests have been made, he said.

Meanwhile, child-care activities continued as scheduled at Pilgrim, including an 'Ice Clean Day.'

'We have a lot of parents that will be here today to help us clean the classrooms before school starts,' Trine said, as she welcomed parents and children who entered the church office. 'We'll give them ice cream when they finish.'

The evidence of vandalism disturbed many people as they arrived to drop off children or report for cleanup duty.

'When people see it, they say that it's just wrong,' Trine said. 'I think that it's wonderful that the city is willing to help.'