By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
The holiday spirit was not found at Keizer Little League Park recently.
After a vandalism spree in October led to plenty of damage – and four teenagers plus their parents working out deals to pay for it – a rash of graffiti was found shortly before Christmas.
“The graffiti was gang-related,” said Jeff Kuhns, deputy chief with the Keizer Police Department. “The City of Keizer is a victim because the fields belong to the city.”
Pictures supplied by the KPD show similar markings on different structures, with “Eighteen Street” and “Gang” being common markings.
Kuhns said the damage was done either the night of Dec. 19 or early Dec. 20. Graffiti was found on dugout structures for Fields 1 and 3 at KLL Park, at Kennedy Elementary School, the Keizer Boys and Girls Club and some of the street signs and jersey barriers on Ridge Drive between KLL Park and Kennedy.
“The graffiti was reported to us by the school security officer who found it during one of their routine patrols,” Kuhns said. “There have not been any arrests made or suspects identified.”
Anyone with information is asked to call officer David Zavala at 503-390-3713 Ext. 3512.
Robert Johnson, Keizer parks supervisor, said the graffiti was painted over on Dec. 26. The cost involved with the work was $192.75 in materials, in addition to 16 hours of Keizer Public Works staff time that was utilized to do the work.
The damage was found a couple of months after four vandals did extensive damage to various parts of KLL Park. Over the course of several nights, vandals chopped down a dugout, destroyed another one, tore down a score box, threw picnic tables into a field and tipped over portable toilets.
One of the teenagers wrote a letter of apology, which appeared in the Dec. 13 issue of the Keizertimes.
“I personally regret doing this senseless act because I am the oldest and therefore I should know better,” the teen wrote in part. “It was a completely unnecessary act with others having to lose their time with cleaning it up. I would advise others to not do anything like this, period. It puts your life on hold and can seriously mess it up for years to come. When you realize how your actions can affect others as well as yourself, you begin to think about your actions before doing them.”
KLL Park was in the news again in November when a committee recommended awarding the city’s contract for park management to Keizer Little League. KLL used to run the park until a few years ago, when a group of leaders left the group to form Keizer Youth Sports Association, which in turn took over KLL Park.
After four years, both KLL and KYSA officials responded to the city’s Request For Proposals (RFP) to run the park. The Keizer City Council is expected to award the contract at the Monday, Jan. 6 meeting.