Bend Park and Recreation District says there has been a “steep increase” in illegal activity at some of Bend’s most popular parks.
“Over this last year in particular, we’ve had a huge increase in vandalism and other types of improper restroom use,” Parks Steward Manager for BPRD Jeff Hagler said. “
Hagler says the public is going to start seeing more signs like ‘closed for repairs or ‘closed due to vandalism.’
BPRD filed 35 incidents under inappropriate restroom use so far for 2023. That’s an 84% increase in occurrences for the same time period last year.
“It can be anywhere from graffiti, just writing on the walls, we’ve also had fires. They’ll start a fire in the wastepaper basket, which can spread and damage other things,” Hagler said. “You name it, they’ve broken it.”
BPRD says staff closed restrooms at an average of two to four times per week this summer. The restrooms would often have to be closed for 24 hours or longer for each occurrence of drug-related use.
A Park Service crew spent some of their morning repairing a restroom at Mckay Park on Thursday. A bench was found ripped off the wall.
Hagler says the repairs take time and resources away from other priorities, such as park and trail maintenance.
“We’re doing the best we can to keep these facilities open and safe, but there will be some times where they will be closed down,” he said.
The increase in crime has prompted BPRD to ask you to use caution when entering park restrooms and to always supervise children to reduce the chance of them touching unknown substances or paraphernalia.
BPRD asks you to report anything that looks suspicious to park services.