PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Remnants of spray paint and broken windows serve as a frustrating reminder for some locals hit by vandals over the weekend. A custom mural above a Sellwood-Moreland business and a local church were among those hit.
One of the places severely hit was St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Southwest Portland, as many came in for Sunday worship, finding dozens of tags spray painted throughout the sanctuary, halls and even nursery rooms. Church pews were hit while walls were covered in expletives. Church members still want to know why they were targeted and who is responsible.
“It was just sort of an hour of finding another spot, another spot, another spot,” said Sarah Sanderson-Doughty. “Clearly they made their way through as much of the building as they could get access to.”
While they do not know who is responsible, the vandals also broke a few windows including a stained glass one in the chapel, along with smashing mugs and apples in common areas.
“One of our church leaders spent time Sunday morning walking around, taking pictures of every bit of damage he could find and he took 101 photos,” said Sanderson-Doughty.
Calling the weekend break-in a “senseless act of destruction,” church members have started the clean-up process but say they’re still reeling.
“It’s incredibly shaking. This is a safe space,” said Sanderson-Doughty, adding the church often serves those in need, well beyond their congregation.
Across the Willamette in the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood, a custom mural created over the CA Butt building, paints a history of the creation of Willamette Falls and the region’s Indigenous roots — but this weekend, it was also hit by vandals.
“The next morning, I saw that they had been there, they knew the cameras were there and they were obviously avoiding them,” said John Keane, who co-owns the building and commissioned the mural.
Instead, the building’s owners spent much of the weekend scrubbing what they could off. They installed security cameras a few months ago due to consistent graffiti on the roof, and say it’s rampant in the community with nearby businesses and schools also often hit.
“It’s super frustrating and it’s really ramped up a lot over the last few years,” said Keane, who grew up in the neighborhood.
In the last year, Portland Police received more than 12,000 reports of vandalism, including more than a thousand last month. Earlier this year, Mayor Wheeler announced plans in the budget for graffiti clean-up, but the city is asking any new findings of graffiti to be reported immediately.