‘A shock to everybody’: West Hills neighbors frustrated with Finch Arboretum vandalism

SPOKANE, Wash. — Neighbors are worried about vulgar graffiti at a West Spokane park after the Finch Arboretum was hit hard.

People who live nearby found the graffiti early Saturday morning and immediately started filing reports. On Monday, the Woodland Center looked a lot better, but neighbors are worried something like this could happen again.

“It came as a shock to everybody,” said Aaron Villemure. He lives nearby and took photos of the damage on Saturday.

4 News Now couldn’t air a lot of the pictures and words because of how graphic they were.

“It’s certainly disappointing to see that, and unfortunately it’s a park that’s utilized by a lot of people throughout the community, not just in our West Hills neighborhood but all of Spokane,” he said.

This wasn’t an isolated incident. Across Spokane, parks are being vandalized a lot more this summer.

“We’re seeing that across the system, not just at Finch Arboretum,” said Garrett Jones, Spokane’s Parks and Recreation director.

This is the first time Finch was hit, and because of how vulgar the destruction was, park staff moved resources around on Monday to clean up the mess quickly.

“To hear that it’s already cleaned up now that I’m at work — that’s pretty fast,” Villemure said. “I didn’t think it would happen that quickly.”

Next, crews will survey the area around the arboretum, looking for safety and security improvements they can make. Jones says he wants to get ahead of the issue, but it comes with a cost.

“It takes away from other improvements and operations in our park systems,” Jones added.

Parks are plagued with vandalism, and neighbors aren’t happy about the destruction.

“It’s a beautiful park. It’s popular, and it’s unfortunate to see something like that,” Villemure said.

To prevent further damage, the Parks department is working with Spokane Police to update park rules and create new enforcement tools to stop people from vandalizing public parks. Neighbors just hope the vandalism won’t continue.

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