Vandals knocked over and damaged as many as a dozen headstones, some dating as far back as the 1860s, at Oregon City’s Mt. View cemetery.

by: PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Cathy Mitchell, Mt. View Cemetery's office assistant, surveys the latest damage in Oregon City.Numerous gravestones are damaged beyond repair, said Cemetery Manager Larry Potter, in the second major pre-Halloween attack in three years. Oregon City’s Parks Department offered a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and convictions those responsible. “It took more than one person to push these heavy gravestones over,” Potter said. “We want to bring them to justice.”

Authorities found 10 to 12 headstones in the Pioneer Section of the cemetery were knocked over, causing about $10,000 in damage. Potter thinks that the vandals didn’t venture further into the cemetery because they were afraid of the dark. There are some houses nearby that section of the graveyard, but neighbors didn’t see the perpetrators.

Cemetery caretakers and park officials discovered tire marks in October 2010 that had torn through the well-manicured sod, breaking two gravestones off their foundations and causing an estimated $2,500 in damage. This year, a woman on her daily walk reported the vandalism to OCPD Sgt. Matthew Paschall last Sunday afternoon. But earlier reports to the cemetery over the weekend of Oct. 12 have led investigators to believe that the vandalism occurred on Friday night or early Saturday morning.

Members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War have offered their volunteer time to help repair the damage, noted Cathy Mitchell, the cemetery’s office assistant.

“You have someone who’s totally not respectful of the history here, the city’s property or the families honored, and then you have other people who are coming forward to help,” she said.

The cemetery will never be the same. Volunteers will have to piece together some of the marble obelisks and lay them flat on the ground.

Anyone with information about the vandalism is encouraged to call 503-496-1616.

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