TROUTDALE, Ore. – Investigators have been perusing surveillance video in hopes of locating suspects in an April 9 fire that destroyed a popular playground structure in Troutdale, according to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
The fire at Imagination Station, 1900 SW Cherry Park Road, was first reported at 4:14 a.m, according to Lt. Steve Alexander of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators believe the fire was set intentionally, Alexander said.
Photos: Playground fire at Troutdale's Imagination Station
Troutdale Mayor Doug Daoust said the playground was built in 1994 with the help of about 2,000 community members.
"My message to the community has always been we're strong and we will continue to be strong and we can rebuild," Daoust said.
The playground was financed by donations from the community.
"We raised $150,000 cash over nine months and another $150,000 in donated materials from local businesses," Daoust said.
I've never seen ppl so sad about a fire @ a park. It's because this is part of their town's history. They built it. pic.twitter.com/nRROUMORYu— Ashley Korslien (@AshleyKorslien) April 9, 2016
The playground served as a safe place for parents to take their children. Many kids' names were inscribed in the wood, making the arson personal. A sign left on crime scene tape simply says "This is sad :(."
"It's very personal for everybody, either they played here, or they brought their kids here," said Starla Brown. "The fact that even part of it was destroyed was really disturbing."
The playground structure was engulfed in flames when deputies arrived. Gresham firefighters were able to put out the fire. No other structures were affected.
"I'm really upset by everything that's going on because this park really means a lot to me and whoever did this I'm very upset with," one young boy said.
Here's some sweet boys reacting to the fire at their favorite playground @KGWNews #ImaginationStation pic.twitter.com/7KKfFwIRrP— Ashley Korslien (@AshleyKorslien) April 9, 2016
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office is assisting the Gresham Fire Department with the investigation.
Anyone with information regarding the fire is asked to call the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 503-261-2847.
The City of Troutdale established a fund for the playground and is accepting donations at Troutdale City Hall, 219 E. Historic Columbia River Hwy. Troutdale, OR 97060. Donations may qualify as tax deductible. All donations will go toward the restoration or improvement of Imagination Station.