220 Jewett Blvd, PO Box 218, White Salmon, WA 98672 | 509.493.2112
Vandals hit bike park
Toss old tires into Jewett Creek
TUMBLED TIRES — These tires were previously piled up neatly by bike park volunteers who cleaned up the old dump site located in the ravine north of the Tohomish Street ballfields. Vandals recently took apart the entire tire pile and threw dozens of the tires and other items down the hill and into Jewett Creek before the city could haul them away to the dump. As of press time, local police were still looking for the culprits.
March 05, 2013
By BEN MITCHELLOver the past several months, volunteers have spent countless hours cleaning up the old dump site near Jewett Creek in White Salmon to prepare for a new mountain bike park that's tentatively scheduled to open this June.
Recently though, vandals undid a portion of that work when they took roughly 20 old tires as well as a few other pieces of garbage and sent them careening down the hillside. The tires tore through the freshly-cut bike trails that snake through the wooded area and about half made it all the way into Jewett Creek -- a waterway that has been documented as home to a variety of fish species, including salmon.
The tires and other debris came from a pile bike park volunteers had formed after cleaning up the area, which lies on a section of city property north of Tohomish Street that has been used as an illegal dump site by individuals for decades.
White Salmon Mayor David Poucher said city workers discovered the mess last Thursday when they went to go haul the tires, 55-gallon drums, rusty rims, and other garbage to the dump. Poucher said it appeared the entire pile had been deliberately pushed down the hill and estimated that if a professional service had been hired to clean it up, the cost would be $600 to $800.
"It's so disappointing," he said. "You have a group of people working their tails off to do this thing and then another group comes and does this."
Poucher noted the city had filed a formal complaint with the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department last Friday morning. B-WSPD Chief Tracy Wyckoff said there were currently no suspects in the case as of Monday morning, but he hoped to interview kids who hang out near Jewett Creek and gain information "via word of mouth."
Scott Hulbert, who is one of the founders of The Spoke Club, the nonprofit that was formed to organize the bike park's construction and fundraising efforts, said he thought something like this might eventually happen.
"It was kind of one of my fears when we had them all piled up there," he explained, "because it was so tempting to look at the big hill and then look at all those tires."
Hulbert said he already helped haul the tires up the hill once before and isn't looking forward to now fishing the debris out of Jewett Creek, but he was relatively upbeat about the task, calling it "a good workout." He expected to start work on the cleanup this week.
Poucher said if the vandals are caught in time, Hulbert and other Spoke Club volunteers may not have to worry about cleaning up the mess at all.
"I hope we can catch them," he said. "I know what I'd like to give them for community service."
Anyone who has information about the bike park vandalism can reach the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department at 493-1177.