Port Gamble’s signs, cemetery vandalized

PORT GAMBLE — There was an eerie silence Tuesday afternoon in Port Gamble as Olympic Property Group staff tried to figure out why vandals trashed the small historic town the night before.

Shana Smith, curator and property manager of Port Gamble, woke up to a phone call from a postal service worker around 6 a.m. on March 18 to find out something was wrong.

“Every picnic table was turned over, all the trash cans had been turned over,” Smith recalled.

Additionally, every trash can that was not bolted to the ground was flipped and every sign, from street to informational signs, was ripped from its cement posts, she said.

OPG doesn’t have any leads on the crime but Smith noted that some of the signs were brand new.

The damage was done near the cemetery and maintenance shed, where town homes and residents are not located.

One of the more shocking finds was the destruction to the cemetery.

Parts of the white picket fence around one of the county’s oldest cemeteries had been damaged in a variety of ways as the responsible parties ripped off pickets and knocked down entire sections on all four sides of the cemetery.

“I was surprised none of the headstones were touched,” said Joseph McArdle, the construction and maintenance superintendent for OPG, who spent Tuesday afternoon assessing the damage and cleaning up.

Another part of the town’s history was also destroyed, McArdle added.

“The tree planted for the 150th anniversary for the (Pope and Talbot Company) — that was destroyed,” he said. “It was planted by the Pope family in 1999.”

The only evidence left behind from the vandals are the tire tracks that begin near the community’s maintenance storage shed and head toward the cemetery.

“It had a tire mark right up the edge of the grass, about 100 feet long,” McArdle said, estimating that about $2,000 will cover repairs. “Whoever it was did a pretty good job of trashing us.”

Anyone with information about this incident can call Smith at (360) 297-8074 or the Kitsap County Sheriff’s office at (360) 337-7101.

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