Ashland art sculpture damaged, suspect identified

ASHLAND, Ore. — A popular and pricy art sculpture in Ashland was vandalized Friday night.  While the suspect has been identified, residents say they’re not surprised to see it damaged.

“As soon as this sculpture went in, I thought it was absolutely beautiful, especially seeing it at night with all the lights lit up, but I knew it wasn’t going to last long,” Elib Crist-Dwyer, Ashland resident, said.

The 100 feet long and ten feet high art sculpture named Velocity, has been in the downtown Ashland area since November of last year.

“It was in a good spot too, this alleyway needed some light, and it was a great choice for public art,” Crist-Dwyer said.

For some Ashland residents, they say the sculpture which programs a color-shifting led light, brought creativity to the area.

“Really different, it’s really interesting, and the ball itself to me is a healing ball because of the colors,” Niissan, Ashland resident, said.

The Ashland Police Department said after a few days of searching for the suspect, they found it to be a few teens who’ve climbed onto the art piece.

“It may have vibrated it enough to cause that globe to fall off the end,” Sergeant Bob Smith, of the Ashland Police Department, said.

The city has taken initiatives to place signs nearly, reminding the public to not climb on the sculpture.

“It was an accident, certainly there was no intent on the part of the juvenile to cause any damage,” Smith said.

Police said the city currently has an ordinance in place that prohibits people from climbing on fountains and monuments.

They said they are unsure of the costs in damages but do want to encourage the community to think before taking action.

“We really got to keep it, but how can you keep it and keep people away from it and honor the artist that built it,” Niissan said.

The incident has been referred to risk management, who will reach out to the parents of the juvenile.

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