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Greenacres Park in Spokane Valley was defaced with racist and supremacist messages over the weekend.

Valley resident Becky Graham said she was walking her dog through the park Saturday morning when she noticed that the restroom building near the park’s east entrance and just outside the playground had been defaced with large, graphic messages written in white, black and maroon spray paint.

“My house was attacked,” was her first reaction, Graham said.

Two of the messages on the restroom door, stalls and walls included a racial slur associated with a black person, followed by “kill yourself” and “WHITE POWER,” the latter accompanied by four swastikas underneath, according to images provided by Graham.

Other obscenities were written in large letters throughout the room.

“I walk my dog ​​there regularly and love this park,” said Graham. “It’s a wonderful little park. I was really surprised to come across it.”

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mark Gregory said Spokane Valley Police Department officials are investigating the incident, which is believed to have occurred between Friday night and Saturday morning. Some of the vandalism and message evidence had already been cleaned up by the time officers arrived, he said.

The vandalism caused an estimated $3,000 in damage and will initially be classified as a case of second-degree intentional damage to property, he said.

Gregory said the police department, which serves as a precinct of the sheriff’s office, is still in the early stages of the investigation and cannot label the vandalism a hate crime at this time without being able to prove the vandal’s intent.

A hate crime charge has not yet been ruled out, he said.

“We are still investigating,” Gregory said. “We don’t know all the facts.”

Spokane Valley Deputy Mayor Tim Hattenburg condemned the “racist” messages at Tuesday night’s city council meeting and thanked the city’s parks department and Senske Services, which works with the city to maintain parks, for their quick response.

He said most of the spray paint was removed within hours of being discovered.

Hattenburg learned of the vandalism from Graham, who called around 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning to report it. Graham also contacted John Bottelli, the director of Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation.

“It was extremely offensive, both racist and otherwise,” Hattenburg said during the meeting. “It doesn’t reflect the community I grew up in, I think we can all agree on that. Unfortunately, there are some people who do that.”

Hattenburg told the meeting that the park is popular with the many families who live in the area and that he saw about 30 children playing in the park when he arrived at the scene around 11:30 a.m.

“I am of course really disappointed about what happened,” Hattenburg said in an interview on Wednesday.

The park does not have security cameras and has not been identified in the past as a problem area that would have required the installation of cameras. Hattenburg said that may need to change following the incident.

“It’s really frustrating that we have to spend taxpayers’ money on this,” said Hattenburg. “But you have to do what you have to do.”

Almost every day, Graham travels the nearly 5 miles from her home in the Valley to the park to walk her 18-year-old dog, Fiona, on the property.

“I walk because there’s a sidewalk and I have balance issues, so this is great for me,” Graham said. “It’s a nice little loop and there are a lot of people who walk regularly.”

The city opened Greenacres Park in 2012 as its first new park since its inception in 2003, and Graham said it’s an incredible place to get to know her fellow citizens.

She said many of the park visitors she meets are immigrant families and that she makes every effort to build rapport with them, such as the young couple from Ukraine she met after repeatedly encountering them during her visits.

“This is a really good way to welcome people who don’t really know much about us,” Graham said. “They come to the country and here’s this little park. For some of them, it’s their first contact with anyone other than an official.”

Gregory said anyone with information about the vandalism should contact Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 and reference case number 10093934.