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Damascus mayor claims campaign signs stolen

Damascus Mayor Steve Spinnett reports that he’s out thousands of dollars worth of re-election signs from thefts he calls politically motivated.

Spinnett is listed as a victim in six police reports filed with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office dating from Aug. 23 to Sept. 4.

Stolen signs range from large field signs measuring 4 feet by 6 feet, to smaller yard signs. Spinnett estimates the value of the missing signs to total nearly $4,000.

He also reported three instances of vandalism and criminal mischief in which someone cut electrical cords to reader boards displaying messages about his re-election effort. Damage is estimated at about $1,000.

Spinnett said there’s no way to really know exactly how many signs have been stolen. Many of the cases originated from his supporters who reported the thefts to him.

“And not everybody reports them,” he said.

Signs also have been cut off their posts.

He believes the incidents are politically motivated and stem from his hotly contested re-election bid against Councilor Mary Wescott and former councilor Andrew Jackman. “I am being singled out, big time,” he said.

In all fairness, roadside signs are always at risk because they are frequently stolen — whether the signs are for a political candidate or something else, such as a lacrosse team — said Sgt. Adam Phillips, sheriff’s office spokesman.

Wescott said she, too, has had campaign signs stolen but she didn’t file a police report because only a few of her approximately 100 signs have disappeared.

“It’s a whole lot less than him because I don’t have as many as him,” she said. “He’s got the place blanketed.”

She has a few theories as to why so many of his signs are disappearing, though.

Homeowners, county officials or staff with the state department of transportation might be removing signs placed in the public right-of-way.

Especially right-of-ways in front of homes.

And especially if the homeowner is not asked whether or not it’s OK to put a sign there.

Regardless of why it’s happening, she’s asked her supporters to report to the police anybody seen removing campaign signs.