‘They represent our community’: Hundreds of Centennial Trail medallions reported stolen
SPOKANE, Wash. — More than 329 personalized bronze medallions have been stolen from the Centennial Trail in the last two weeks. Over 3,600 of the medallions were laid along the trail 30 years ago.
“Truly my first reaction is sadness and a little bit of anger,” said Loreen McFaul, Executive Director of the Friends of the Centennial Trail. “They represent a life, a special event, an organization, a memory, they represent our community.”
Personal memories, commemorations, memorials….that’s what these bronze medallions along the Centennial Trail are, what they mean. More than 250+ have been stolen to be turned in for recycling money. Some sanded or ground down so that they are unrecognizable police say #kxly pic.twitter.com/5PcmldtWOH
— Hawk Hammer (@HawkKXLY) June 5, 2019
McFaul said the “Miracle Mile” between the First Interstate Center for the Arts and Gonzaga, where the medallions are found, is a special place for many.
“It’s a representation of the love our community has for Spokane,” McFaul said. “And it’s been stolen.”
McFaul said, of the 329 taken, they have recovered approximately half. They were turned into area recycling centers for a few bucks. The recycling centers then realized what they were and returned them.
“There’s 41 of them that have been completely defaced, somebody took a grinder to the logo, the depiction of the river and the trail and the personalized engraving,” McFaul said.
McFaul said she has families that regularly go down to polish their loved ones medallion, outraged at the blatant disrespect for the community.
“Unfortunately, we aren’t just dealing with stolen memories, we are dealing with ruined infrastructure along a mile of the trail,” McFaul said.
McFaul said the money for replacing the medallions and repairing the trail damage isn’t there right now.
“For the trail’s 30 year anniversary we want to focus on completing the Argonne-Mission gap, raising money for a much needed asphalt overlay, not do this replacement work,” McFaul said.
Though the extent of the damage is currently being determined, McFaul estimates it may be in the tens of thousands. A fund-raising effort is underway, more on that can be found on the Friends of the Centennial Trail website.
Each medallion is four inches wide and a quarter of an inch thick, with a stem underneath to hold them into the ground. McFaul said they were placed with a really strong glue.
Police said they are following several leads but ask that everyone keep their eye out for anything suspicious.
“If you see someone knelt down with tools in their hands, and it looks like they are taking the medallion out, or its not staying in, we want a phone call immediately,” said Terry Preuninger, a spokesman for the Spokane Police Dept.
The organization is working to determine which medallions are missing and who they belong to, but suggested that for those worried theirs might be missing, to go down and check for themselves.
They are also taking any suggestions on best ways to make sure to make sure the medallions can’t be stolen going forwards.
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