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Officials search for vandals

Lakeridge High School officials are still searching for vandals who used blue spray paint to write, 'We Own You' and the letter 'L' on a mural at the Oregon City High School football stadium.

The vandalism occurred Sept. 18, a day before the Lakeridge boys varsity soccer team played Oregon City at the site.

The following evening, the abbreviations 'OC' and 'PIOS' were spray painted in black and red on the Lakeridge practice field and on nearby concrete structures.

'The vandalism here at Lakeridge and Oregon City is unfortunate,' said Lakeridge Principal Mike Lehman. 'It does not represent the values held by Lakeridge or Oregon City students.'

On Sept. 21, Oregon City administrators identified three participants, some football players, in the Lakeridge vandalism.

The students will face school discipline and will no longer be part of the OCHS football team, said Oregon City Principal Nancy Bush-Lange. They will also face charges for property defacement from the Lake Oswego Police Department.

On the same day, Lakeridge officials received an anonymous tip that linked the school's soccer team to the mural defacement.

Lehman, vice principal Laura Shea and athletic director Mike Coulson interviewed about 100 male and female soccer players to find out if anyone had information regarding the vandalism.

'We did not find any information that would lead us to suspect involvement of Pacer soccer players,' Lehman said in an e-mail to parents.

The Lakeridge staff is now following other leads and will conduct additional interviews, Lehman added. He recently placed an anonymous tip box in the school's common area.

'We haven't ruled anybody out, including someone who doesn't attend (Lakeridge),' he said.

Consequences will vary based on the 'seriousness of the incident' and the history of behavior of each individual, according to Lehman.

'We don't have a lot of experience with vandalism here,' he said.

Maintenance staff covered and removed the spray paint at Lakeridge. The cost of repair was not determined, Lehman said.

The school is seeking volunteer artists to restore the Oregon City High School mural, which was a gift from a graduated class.

'Both schools are committed to good sportsmanship,' Lehman said. 'Both schools are committed to showing respect for people and property.'

As an act of solidarity, captains of both school's football teams, OCHS student body president Hannah Witt and Lakeridge student body vice president Ben Roan came together at the Lakeridge-Oregon City football game on Friday.

Each president offered a statement to be read to the audience.

'We regret that the incident occurred and would like to take this time to apologize and make amends between our two schools,' Witt said. 'We look forward to a year of good sportsmanship and friendly competition.'

Said Roan: 'We hope that the actions of a few do not reflect on Lakeridge as a whole, and we are glad that Oregon City is willing to move forward and put this unfortunate incident behind us in the interest of improving and mending relations.'

If you have more information about the vandalism at Oregon City High School, call Lakeridge High School Principal Mike Lehman at 503-534-2260.