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Trumps in the road

The wordplay may have faded, but the paint used in election-night vandalism may linger past inauguration day.

On Oak Street in Ashland, a series of speed bumps are preceded by white paint that says "Bump." On election night, somebody used spray paint to add a "T" and alter the "B" so the bumps in the road became Trumps in the road.

A month after the election, drivers continue to see "TBUMP" ahead of the half-dozen speed bumps, but it's not for lack of trying that the unwanted paint remains, according to Ashland Public Works Superintendent Mike Morrison.

The department has made numerous attempts to remove the spray paint, but Morrison said they have all been unsuccessful. 

On Tuesday, Morrison sent a street sweeper to Oak, hoping the metal bristles would be abrasive enough to remove the paint. 

“The street sweeper only kind of made it look dirty,” Morrison said. “It didn’t really remove any of it.”

On Wednesday, crews attached a wire brush to an angle grinder.

Morrison said the department's most effective option, pressure washing, is out of the question because the street is close to Ashland Creek, and pressure washing could send oil and paint into the creek.

Public Works is waiting for drier, warmer weather so workers can put black paint over the vandalism.

"Part of our problem is just the time of year," Morrison said.

Deputy Chief Warren Hensman said Ashland police don't have any suspects in the vandalism.

"Nobody that I know of has reported anything to the police department," Hensman said.

Hensman is hopeful that a break in another vandalism case, involving spray paint atop the Ashland Elks lodge, will provide a clue in the street vandalism.

"Sometimes investigating small crimes can lead to bigger things," Hensman said. "We'll see where that takes us."

If the damage is greater than $500, Hensman said, the perpetrator could face a charge of second-degree criminal mischief, a Class A misdemeanor.

The defacement may be especially offensive in a precinct where 78 percent voted for the president-elect's opponent, and another 11 percent voted for third parties and write-ins, according to Jackson County elections records.

"I'm sure it's a challenge, but this is no ordinary graffiti and it gives an extremely negative impression to anyone leaving or entering the city on Oak Street," Ashland resident Carolyn Patten wrote in an email exchange with the city. "Leaving it there all winter does not seem to meet the standards Ashland is known for." 

— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Police are investigating the vandalism to every 'bump' sign along Oak Street in Ashland, where someone added a 'T' and blackened out the bottom of the 'B' to spell 'Trump.' The black has since faded from all of the 'Bs' on the street. Mail Tribune / Denise Baratta