Vandals disturb Glendale construction site

"Curt Gordon looks over a hay bale blockade vandals built on Glendale Road sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Gordon's company, Island Asphalt, is building an earthen wall to stabilize a section of the road before it is repaved by Island County.Matt Johnson / staff photoVandals spilled diesel fuel and built a road block recently at a controversial Glendale Road construction site.While walking through the site Sunday, Glendale Road resident Susan O'Brien discovered that someone had pulled a drain plug from a fuel filter on a grading tractor owned by Island Asphalt, spilling several gallons of fuel on the road. Further downhill, vandals pushed a 500-pound tractor bucket from an embankment onto the road, and built a large barricade out of hay bales.Island Asphalt began work last week to shore up a collapsed portion of the road with a mechanically stabilized earthen wall. The company's work is the first stage in a controversial Island County repair job intended to reopen the road after a four-year closure. Opponents last week filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the project.Island Asphalt owner Curt Gordon said the mischief did not look like the work of kids. He said nothing was broken or smashed. To drain the diesel out of his tractor, the vandal who unplugged the fuel tank had to have some mechanical knowledge. The hay bale barricade, which was built with bales Island Asphalt employees piled at the side of the road Friday, was constructed in an almost artful, fort-like design. This is just kinda weird, he said.Both Gordon and O'Brien said they could not help wondering if the vandalism is connected with Glendale Road residents' opposition to the county's plan to reopen the road as a two-lane thoroughfare. Much of the opposition to the work concerns potential effects on Glendale Creek, which has been a salmon breeding ground since flooding in January 1997 tore the culverts directing the stream out of the ground. Glendale residents have also protested reopening the road because they do not want speeding, ferry-bound traffic driving through their community, and in order to protect salmon.O'Brien said that if the vandals were trying to protect fish by targeting Gordon's equipment, spilling diesel fuel was not the way to do it.I was a little miffed, she said.O'Brien spread kitty litter on the spill to stop it from flowing into a ditch that connects with the creek. Later in the day, Gordon used a spill prevention kit to sop up the remainder of the fuel.Island County Engineer Dick Snyder, who is in charge of the Glendale project, said there is little the county can do to keep people away from the job site. He said the road is open to the public, even while it is under construction.Gordon said he is offering a $250 reward for information that leads to the prosecution of the vandals. Anyone with information about the vandals' identities should call 911 to report it to the Island County Sheriff's Office. "

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