Vandals caught with dull hatchet in hand
Police find youths in Fairview Woods Park
Police arrested two juvenile males around noon Thursday, Oct. 6, for reportedly chopping down trees in Fairview Woods Park and causing more than $30,000 in damage.
Fairview Police Chief Ken Johnson said police received a tip from an informant that trees were being cut down in Fairview Woods Park, where several trees had been cut down or damaged. Since a majority of Fairview police officers were assisting with a police standoff in Troutdale at the same time, Johnson and School Resource Officer Paul Wecks responded to the call.
Johnson said he and Wecks entered the park and found two juvenile males, ages 15 and 17, in a heavily wooded area. Johnson said he and Wecks watched as the juveniles took turns chopping down an 18-inch ash tree with a 'very dull hatchet.' Johnson and Wecks then arrested the juveniles without incident.
Johnson said the two juveniles also admitted to cutting down a cedar tree the day before and a big leaf maple.
Johnson said at least a dozen trees have been cut down or severely damaged in the 8-acre Fairview Woods Park over the past month. The parks department has had to remove the damaged trees so they wouldn't fall on anyone, he said.
'This has been going on for a while, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage in Fairview Woods Park,' Johnson said.
The suspects reside in the area of the park. When asked why they were cutting down trees, one suspect reportedly said, 'It's better than drinking.'
The suspects' names are not being released because of their ages.
A criminal mischief investigation is continuing. Johnson said he expects to file charges against the suspects for felony-first degree criminal mischief.
Fairview police are also investigating the past instances of trees being cut down. Anyone who has additional information about trees being illegally cut down should call Detective Brad Robertson at 503-674-6259 or Johnson at 503-674-6213.