Youthful vandals double company's construction costs

Employees at Neilson Research Corp. in downtown Medford were surprised Thursday evening when they spotted three boys allegedly writing their names and obscenities in the business's freshly paved sidewalk.

"I thought, 'Oh my goodness,' " said Kim Ramsay, vice president of the business. "I honestly couldn't believe I saw that. I immediately tried to get the boys to get into the building to call their parents."

Ramsay ran after the boys for several blocks and heard one boy yell to her, "I'm not going to get in trouble."

Neilson Research, a lab that tests water, food and hazardous waste for environmental projects, started the $3,700 construction project earlier this week after being mandated by the city of Medford on July 2 to improve its sidewalks. With two names and two obscenities scratched into the concrete, Ramsay said the business might have to start over on the project, which would double the costs.

Medford police responded to the call at 5:13 p.m. and found the 12-year-old boys minutes later at Central Medford High School, according to Lt. Mike Budreau. Police cited and released each boy on a charge of mischief.

Workers from Silas R. Durham Construction in Medford started removing the old concrete near the business's driveway on Wednesday. By Thursday, they had finished paving the portion, which blocked access to the business's parking lot.

"It's very inconvenient," Ramsay said. "I don't know when they'll be done now."

Construction workers were upset Friday morning when they saw two of the boys' names scratched in the concrete accompanied by obscenities, Ramsay said.

"One worker was sick to his stomach," she said. "They were out there working all day in 90-degree weather."

Ramsay is working with her insurance company to see whether the insurance company of the boys' parents can cover the costs, which could total another $3,700.

Workers will try to scrub the words off the sidewalk next week. If that doesn't work, they will have to start over.

The business still has several sections that need repaving, Ramsay said. She plans to hire a co-worker's son to watch the sidewalk for 10 hours while it dries.

"We want to make sure this doesn't happen again," she said.

Reach University of Oregon reporting intern Josephine Woolington at 541-776-4368 or

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