Police urge residents to guard their gourds

by: SUBMITTED  - Broken pumpkins litter the ground outside Three Rivers Charter School after vandals stuck overnight Oct. 28.For many children in West Linn, their Halloween spirit may be dampened as suspected juveniles went on a pumpkin smashing spree.

About 60 pumpkins were smashed at Three Rivers Charter School, at 4975 Willamette Falls Drive, sometime late Monday night or early Tuesday morning. The pumpkins were carved with self-portraits created by the school's fourth- and fifth-graders.

"The sad thing was the kids made them into themselves" Three Rivers Principal Katherine Holtgraves said. "The staff did them too. Some kids spent hours on them at home."

Holtgraves saw the smashed pumpkins hours before children arrived at the school, and she said she considered cleaning up the mess before students could see it. Instead, she turned the vandalism into a teaching moment.

"We talked about bullying and how you handle it in a community," she said. "(Students) are writing letters to the editor and they're probably going to talk to the mayor. ... You can either get really angry or you can figure out who you can talk to in the community."

Vandals also struck down the road a couple of miles, at 5933 Holmes Street off Willamette Drive, where about 10 uncarved pumpkins displayed in the covered area at the Bolton Primary School's front entryway also were smashed overnight.

"It took our custodian an hour and a half this morning to clean it up," Bolton's instructional coordinator, Stacey Couturier, said. "They were seriously smashed."

Mayhem was also reported at 11:39 p.m. Monday in the 3300 block of Fairview Way, at 11:54 p.m. in the 4300 block of Imperial Drive and at 11:58 p.m. in the 6300 block of White Tail Drive.

According to Detective Mike Francis of the West Linn Police Department, there are no suspects, and no arrests have been made or are pending. If caught, juveniles could be charged with third-degree criminal mischief and could face a trip to the juvenile detention center.

Francis recommended leaving on porch lights and perhaps even bringing pumpkins inside at night to keep them safe.

“Unfortunately, kids are going to be stupid,” he said. “It’s the silly season right now. All the little ghouls will be out there.”

Francis also asked residents to call the police as soon as they hear something suspicious, especially juveniles after curfew, rather than waiting until the morning to report SUBMITTED  - Three Rivers Charter School displayed students' pumpkin self-portraits outside the school.

by: SUBMITTED - Three Rivers Charter School students hard work shows in the details of the self-portrait pumpkins they SUBMITTED  - A bench outside Three Rivers Charter School provides a display area for students pumpkin self-portraits.

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