Contractor smooths out sidewalk, but must figure out way to remove graffiti before completing project.

HOLLY M. GILL - The letters MVh were painted on a cinder block retaining wall at Second and H streets in Madras last week. The vandalism, overnight or in the early morning hours, occurred after the contractor, Knife River, poured the sidewalks. The city is asking the public to report suspicious activity in the area.Graffiti and crude images were etched into a new sidewalk on Second and H Street last week, causing damage that could have been costly for the contractor.

"Fortunately, the concrete hadn't dried completely and we were able to brush the drawings out of the concrete," said Tom Edmunson, project manager for the contractor, Knife River. "We were able to remove the vandalism with minimal effort."

SUBMITTED PHOTO - A vandal or vandals scrawled a name and scratched crude images into the newly poured sidewalk on H Street, just west of Second Street.The vandal or vandal also spray-painted graffiti on a block retaining wall at the site, which has the potential to be an expensive fix.

"The paint on the wall remains and we've got to figure out how to get rid of it," said Edmunson, who is concerned that it might be expensive. "It could run up to $700."

Prior to the vandalism, the city project had been proceeding smoothly. Knife River, which had been awarded the city contract for the project, started the first phase in October 2017, installing water and stormwater lines and catch basins before shutting down for cold weather.

The contractor returned last month and began pouring curbs and sidewalks, which will extend approximately 1,200 linear feet on the south side of H Street. The curbs include extensions for crosswalks at Second and H Street, Madison and H Street and Marshall and H Street, all of which are ADA-compliant.

The goal, according to Jeff Hurd, Public Works director for the city of Madras, was to replace an old water line, repair stormwater drains, and have H Street paved from Fourth Street all the way to the Culver Highway. In the fall, he hoped to find the funds to finish the paving.

This month, he annnounced in an update that the city had "just finalized a price for adding in the work from Marshall (Street) to Culver Highway and also paving the north side of H from Second to Madison."

With assistance from the Oregon Department of Transportation, Hurd said that he hopes to get the city's approval for the additional funding at its March 13 meeting.

"The city of Madras is great to work with," said Edmunson, who expects to complete the project by early June. "It will be very nice when we get that done."

In the meantime, the city is asking the public to keep an eye out for anyone who might be causing damage to the project.

"We would like the neighborhood to be aware and call the police if they see anything suspicious," said Michele Quinn, Public Works office coordinator.

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