A publication of the Cedar Mill Business Association
Volume 1, Issue 8


September 2003
The base of theSentinel Pole is seriously scorched, and will require stabilizing

Sentinel Pole scorched, arson investigation continues

The focus of Cedar Mill’s newest public space, the Sentinel Pole in the Plaza at the corner of Cornell and Cedar Hills Boulevard, was set on fire at around 10:30 pm Saturday, August 23, 2003. Several people called 911 to report the fire, which was quickly put out by a crew from Station 60 (near Cornell and Miller). Firemen at the scene, realizing the importance of the pole to the community, immediately contacted Ed Bonollo, Deputy Fire Inspector for TVF&R, who initiated an arson investigation.

The investigation continues, but at press time Bonollo would only say, “We’re looking at some things. By the end of the week we’ll know more.” Bonollo is coordinating with Beaverton Police in the investigation. The Sentinel Plaza is one of the areas annexed by Beaverton (see story in July/August issue of CM News) so their police department is the agency of record. “We’re looking for any and all information that people might have,” says Bonollo. If you might have relevant information, contact him at 503-356-4715 or by email at edward.bonollo@tvfr.com .

Neighbors, officials and reporters gather during the press conference to survey fire damage

During a press conference at the pole site on Monday, August 25, TVF&R spokesperson Tim Birr said, “I don’t want to seem prejudiced, but this was most likely committed by some young males. This kind of thing often happens toward the end of summer, when they’ve run out of things to do. Normally we don’t even investigate fire vandalism, such as dumpster fires,” said Birr. “But this is obviously an important asset to the community. Our best chance in an investigation like this is information from the public. Someone will brag about it, or a parent might overhear something suspicious.”

Artist Rick Bartow, who created the piece in 1998, was quoted in an article in The Beaverton Valley Times as saying, “Maybe in the end, this will be a triumph, a little testing of the community.”

It is certainly making us all think about what kind of frustration or alienation could cause someone to commit such an act. If it turns out to have been kids, perhaps we need to look at ways to provide more resources for them.

Mardi Widman of Oregon College of Art & Craft, who was responsible for the creation of the pole, says, “We’ll definitely do something to stabilize the badly damaged area near the base. Some people are suggesting that the whole pole be stained black to incorporate the scorched areas.”

Following the completion of the Plaza in June of this year, the community came together to celebrate, listening to Native American music and dedication speeches from Bartow and members of local agencies, and chowing down on hot dogs, chips, drinks and cake donated by Cedar Mill area businesses.

Currently owned by Washington County, the Plaza will eventually become part of Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District. The Plaza is intended to be a stop on a planned bicycle and pedestrian trail that will link parks in the area.