School vandalism dismays Brentwood-Darlington
What could best be described as a widespread school vandalism spree swept over the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood in the first week of September.
Neighbors and Lane Middle School PTA Board Members Esther Crowell-Duncan and Lesley McKinley told THE BEE they were dismayed to find that three of four large ceramic planters in front that school were toppled and smashed on Saturday, September 9.
"During the 2016 'Community Cares Day', the planters were donated by Portland Public Schools Franklin PK-8 Schools supervisor Jennifer Patterson, who personally purchased and donated the planters," Crowell-Duncan said.
"Teenage vandals who pushed over two planters and shattered them, were actually caught in the act by a passerby; but the kids denied it and ran off," Crowell-Duncan said. "When they came back later, a neighbor across the street heard the third one being smashed, and caught them before they smashed the fourth planter."
McKinley said that officials caught a young female remaining who claims not to have participated in the vandalism, but watched it happen. "We're told she gave her own name, but refused to name the two teenage boys."
But the planter smashing pales in comparison to damage done to other buildings in the area, the past Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association President said.
"My husband and I caught kids breaking windows at our Community Center – but we have no idea who broke windows, ripped up community gardens and damaged outdoor areas at Whitman and Woodmere elementary schools," McKinley said.
Glaziers were busy replacing some of the many shattered windows at Woodmere Elementary.
One of the workers stopped and told THE BEE, "We were also called to estimate replacing six broken windows at Whitman Elementary; but when we arrived on September 8, we found a total of nineteen windows had been broken."
"What's most upsetting is when that this vandalism plays into the stereotypes of our neighborhood being 'Felony Flats' when, in fact, there are many wonderful kids," McKinley said.
And, in addition to restitution, Crowell-Duncan suggested community service for the vandals. "If you're going to destroy something, you need to make something better," she said.
McKinley chimed in, "We're asking everyone to join Neighborhood Watch, come to community events, talk to your neighbors, keep your eyes out on the street, and if you see suspicious activities, report them.
"Don't let this break your spirit about our neighborhood; keep your spirits high we will rebuild," McKinley said.
On a positive note, McKinley reported that on September 15, Portland Nursery donated and installed four new planters – already filled with flowers. "And, with money we raised to replace the broken planters, we'll be able to put additional ones behind the school, at the Head Start entrance."