In the shape of a male reproductive organ, an approximately 30 foot long stretch of black graffiti was spray-painted on Witter Field on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Believed to have occurred between March 16 and March 17, the vandalism occurred, and is still visible, on the northwest section of the track, near the baseball field.
“It was a vulgar, disgusting act by someone who has little or no interest the effects their actions have on the rest of us,” track coach Chris Smith said. “It was very immature.”
As of now neither the district nor the police department has any leads to who may be responsible.
“Coach Smith made it very clear to us that if anybody had any information that could help find who did it, people can anonymously give him information,” triple jumper senior Jake Pacheco said.
Early in the week after the vandalism was discovered, janitorial staff spent over half a day attempting to power-wash the graffiti’d area, however much of the figure still remains visible.
“It’s still noticeable, and I find it pretty upsetting that people would vandalize school property after people within the community spend so much time and money trying to beautify it,” long jumper junior Taylor Mopress said.
On Thursday March 21 the team hosted a meet, but athletes, spectators, nor coaching staff expressed concern over the matter.
“No one mentioned it during the meet, but it is still very embarrassing,” sprinter senior Kyle Dalton said.
Between 2007 and 2008, both the field and the track were replaced, both still under warranty. While the school district received a deal from the manufacture where they only had to pay for labor, which cost $200,000, to fully replace the track and field as scheduled in 2015 will cost around $800,000, when the field’s warranty expires. The recent incident of vandalism, however, will not be a factor in refinishing the track and field and the district is currently in the process of researching a paint that would be the same color as the track and would correctly adhere to its surface. The track’s material is the exactly the same as used by the University of Oregon athletic department.
“I will be giving a call to the University of Oregon soon,” Assistant Superintendent Michael Brady said. “We’re going to cover [the vandalism up]. It will be the most down and dirty, least expensive, yet still pragmatic option.”
Seven months ago, in August, the large “P” in the center of Witter Field was also vandalized, being singed by either a flame or a firework.
“That cost $4,000 to fix,” Brady said. “Hopefully this recent vandalism occurrence will not be similarly expensive to fix.”