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Local teens volunteer to help clean up park graffiti

The project took two days with help from more than a dozen skate park patrons


by: JASON CHANEY - The project took two days with help from more than a dozen skate park patrons

For some Prineville teens, the local skate park is like another home.

So, when unknown vandals covered its ramps and signs in graffiti last week, the kids took it personally and volunteered to pitch in and fix the damage done.

Last Tuesday, skate park patrons and Crook County Parks and Recreation staff found the facility covered in black spray paint. Seemingly each ramp was tagged and one sign bared words only meant to taunt the victims further: "Can't stop us."

"I just think it sucks how people put graffiti on here and the people who actually use it have to see it," said local teen Lauren Cornelius.

As parks maintenance staff member Arlyce Perkins sized up the situation, she suddenly found herself fielding multiple offers to help.

"I told them I was going to paint it, and they all started to volunteer," she said, "which is wonderful because we have never had that (happen) before at the skate park."

On Wednesday afternoon, a dozen local teens arrived at the park. Under the supervision of Perkins and local professional painter Shawn Bates, they grabbed the nearest roller and paint tray and went to work.

"I love volunteers," Perkins gushed. "It makes our job go so much faster and we can get other projects done that would have taken longer. That would have taken me a week or more to complete."

Rather than a week, the painting project only took two days. Parks Supervisor Duane Garner said that the ramps were all painted on Wednesday and on Thursday, eight more teens showed up to help paint the rails.

"We could hardly keep up with all the hands that were available," he said.

Skate park patrons hope that their efforts not only improve the condition of their home away from home, but help buck the stereotype of skateboarders as troublemakers.

"I just think that the kids that are here aren't the ones who are doing this," said local teen Mckayla Pfau, gesturing at the graffiti. "The kids who skate are the ones who are putting it back together."

Perkins expressed similar sentiments.

"Not all the kids are the type who will go around and destroy property," she said. "There are good kids who use the skate park who just like to skateboard."

Now that the painting project is complete, parks and recreation staff hope to make additional improvements to the facility. When that time comes, they may again receive some extra help from the people who call it home.

"We do have some cracks in the asphalt," she said. "A lot of the kids are volunteering to come back and help us with the asphalt project."



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