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Ashland Peace Fence vandalized

The Peace Fence in the Railroad District was vandalized Monday night.

Jean Bakewell, one of the Peace Fence founders, found five of the decorated panels lying on the ground in shreds Tuesday morning. Three of the ruined panels had been painted by kindergarten and first-grade classes, one was made last year by the Armadillo Charter School in Phoenix and another was the creation of an artist from the Lithia Artisans Market.

"They even stole the little guest book and the card table it lays on," said Bakewell. "What a world, first Lincoln's head and now the Peace Fence."

In March 2007, Bakewell shared with friends her idea of the Peace Fence as a way to make the chain link fence along the train tracks an expression of hope and beauty. It originated with 63 panels; this year it grew to 108. On Mother's Day morning, a large group gathered to celebrate its first anniversary with music, poetry and songs.

In 2007 seven panels had been stolen from the fence, but police were able to recover three of them.

"The panels taken last year were beautiful, tie-dyed works of art. We thought they must have been taken to decorate dorm rooms or apartments. This time it was a random act of someone who is obviously angry and must feel they are not being heard," said Nancy Parker, co-founder of the Peace Fence. "We would really like the guest book returned to us. It has no real value except to those of us involved with the Peace Fence. It's our only record of all who've come to see the fence and a place for them to express their thoughts about it."

The Peace Fence is located along the railroad tracks, parallel to A Street in Ashland's Railroad District from Fourth Street to Sixth Street. For more information, contact Jean Bakewell at 482-1802.