Churches struck by vandalism in small town

Cave Junction, Ore.– In the quiet town of Cave Junction residents say they’ve noticed an increase in crime. One group seemingly being targeted – churches.

“I think every church in town has been hit one way or another,” said Pastor Marvin Porter. Pastor Porter has lived in Cave Junction for 10 years and is the pastor of the Valley Evangelical Free Church.  He says it used to be so peaceful but in the past couple years there seems to have been an increase of crime.

Another resident and member of the Fountain of Life Assembly of God Pentecostal church, Gloria Clark Jr., says she’s seen a number of things done to churches within the area.

“Besides the spray painting, I’ve seen poop on the wall, I’ve seen litter, people made fires and just basically breaking in.”

Speaking with pastors and members from a few of the local churches, many have said this problem, mostly due to drugs, has been happening for years. Most recently, Valley Evangelical Free Church had several of it’s windows broken again, costing the church $1,600 in repairs.

“It’s been going on for a long time but it just keeps seeming to get worse and worse and worse,” said Pastor Porter. “It’s like there’s no consequence.”

Many of the churches in Cave Junction provide services for the community, leaving some scratching their heads and wondering, why them?

“I don’t know. Are they mad at god or what the problem is. I don’t know,” said resident Dave Gilmore. “They’re miserable, I have no doubt they’re miserable.”

For Mr. Gilmore, who has been a resident of Cave Junction for 45 years, his church Community Bible has had too many incidents to count.

“Four times they tried to burn the church down by starting fires. Then we had some broken windows.”

In Community Bible’s most recent case of vandalism, burglars attempted to siphon diesel out of oil tanks they use to heat the church. Butchering the job, diesel spilled over the church grounds causing the fire department and Department of Environmental Quality to come out, review and ensure the grounds were safe. Overall, Gilmore believes this will be a costly problem to fix.

Residents are still hopeful that things can change. Gloria Clark Jr., who was once herself a drug addict, but became clean thanks to the churches, says its a struggle.

“I’ve been praying for a revelation but these people, we gotta change. It’s been hard.”

Several of the local churches have installed cameras, but others have had theirs stolen.

Residents tell us they still believe in their small community, but they acknowledge, it’ll take more time and effort to stop these senseless crimes.

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