Monday, September 21, 2020
Sept. 21, 2020

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Vandals damage Prairie Field facilities in Brush Prairie

By , Columbian Staff Writer
Published:

Prairie Field celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, but the big year is ending on a sour note.

On Saturday, a groundskeeper discovered some graffiti and damage to the complex, which plays host to youth baseball and softball and adult softball games, according to Brian Heffley, president of Prairie Field Association.

The person or people involved spray-painted numerous swastikas on and inside the snack bar, along with a few expletives, genitals and a popular meme at the moment on whether they thought Jeffrey Epstein — who was indicted on federal sex-trafficking charges earlier this year — died by suicide. Heffley said the assumption is the vandalism was done by three juveniles; the groundskeeper saw three young people riding their bikes around earlier in the day before noticing the damage.

“When I saw the pictures, you get that feeling where your heart drops into your stomach,” Heffley said. “It’s disheartening. It’s heartbreaking.”

A report was filed with the Clark County Sheriff’s Department, but Heffley said he hasn’t heard anything from the department. A call to the sheriff’s department wasn’t returned.

Nothing was taken from the complex, Heffley said, but the suspects apparently found a knife used for food preparation and cut the hot water heater supply lines, flooding the snack bar.

He estimated the value of damage was somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500. Heffley said Darren Clifford, a local contractor, painted the complex earlier this year and agreed to help paint it again at no cost. The graffiti has already been covered up.

“We have started the process,” Heffley said. “We just have to wait for the weather to permit so we can do a complete repainting.”

The fields don’t see much use this time of year. When baseball and softball are going, around six to eight teams play on the fields, Heffley said.

“In the 50 years of operation, there’s never been vandalism before,” Heffley said. “Thankfully it happened during our winter. It would have been unfortunate for children to see this type of vandalism, especially with the derogatory images that were drawn on.”

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