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Nearly 750 trees, some as tall as 80 feet, have been felled by an at-large suspect

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF GRESHAM - A suspect has cut nearly 750 trees along the Gresham portion of the Springwater Corridor Trail. A rogue vandal continues to terrorize trees along the Springwater Corridor Trail — targeting larger specimens for seemingly no reason other than the wanton destruction of natural spaces.

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF GRESHAM - The suspect, who remains at large after more than a year of natural space vandalism, has been targeted large swaths of trees.  The "Gresham Lumberjack" has been concentrating their efforts along a segment of the trail between the Seventh Street Bridge and Towle Avenue, vandalizing the natural area under the cover of night. About a month ago the unknown suspect hacked down about 50 trees using their signature handsaw.

The trees being cut have been getting bigger and bigger since the damage began more than a year ago — the first felled trees were spotted by city crews in August 2021. The trees now being cut are reaching 60-80 feet in height, and nearly 20-inches in diameter. There have also been shrubs, bushes, and younger trees damaged.

Officials estimate between 500-750 trees have been chopped by this one person, as well as an "untold" number of shrubs and bushes. That equates to hundreds of thousands of dollars and a significant setback to the long-term restoration efforts along Johnson Creek.

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF GRESHAM - A partially cut tree along Johnson Creek.  "It appears this person is focusing on cutting many trees all at once, so we have lulls between big cuttings as they try and find a new spot to hit," said Mike Wallace, Gresham's natural resources ecologist, who was named the lead of a task force dedicated to stopping the damage.

The city is slowly closing in on the culprit, thanks to help from the Gresham Police Department and natural resources crews. The city has placed cameras along the trail and have identified a "person of interest" in connection to the cuttings.

The suspect has no obvious motive — no wood is being taken and the damage has not been linked to camping or constructing homeless shelters. The city clarified no damage has been committed near homeless camps, and that group is not believed to be involved in any way.

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