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A Painted Parkway

DREW NASH - TIMES-NEWS Juggalo among other things are tagged on the outside of an enclosure toward the northeast part of the trail Thursday, November 3, 2011 at Rock Creek Canyon Parkway in Twin Falls.

Looking for a place to live, Donna Anderson was referred to a red house at the bottom of Rock Creek Canyon.

“I went down here and saw it and said, ‘Yeah, this is right for me,’” she said, on her front porch Dec. 2.

Tree boughs stripped of fall leaves hang over the rental property where Anderson has lived for the past seven years, and water rushes in the nearby creek. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a slice of the outdoors, she said — if it weren’t for the graffiti spray painted on rocks, bridges and other places along the canyon’s parkway.

The city-owned parkway, developed in 1997, stretches from the front of Anderson’s home near Maxwell Avenue and Shoshone Street South, to Blake Street off Addison Avenue West. At either end of the two-mile paved trail is private property.

“Something has to be done about the graffiti,” Anderson said, noting that paint is sprayed even on rocks near a cave on private property east of her home. “Juggalo” — a reference to devotees of hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse — is painted on rusted metal outside a room that a city official believes to be an old jail cell on the canyon wall west of the parkway’s Maxwell Avenue access. The initials “CJR” are painted there and elsewhere in the canyon.

“I’ve never been able to confirm it, but it’s believed that somewhere in Rock Creek was the area’s earliest jail,” said Dennis Bowyer, director of Twin Falls’ Parks and Recreation Department.

Police can’t do much about graffiti if it’s not reported, said Luke Allen, crime prevention officer for the Twin Falls Police Department. And even then it’s difficult to investigate because it often happens at night and there aren’t many clues. When graffiti is reported, a group of juvenile probationers dubbed Graffiti Busters will go into the canyon to clean it up.

During the five weeks the Times-News observed the canyon in November and early December, however, graffiti remained on the possible old jail cell and other parts of the canyon.

The last time graffiti was reported in Rock Creek Canyon was last summer, said police resource officer Matthew Triner.

If graffiti appears near a home, Allen suggests owners install motion-detector lights and report suspicious activity.

There haven’t been many calls of other problems in Rock Creek over the past couple of years, he said.

“I reviewed all calls for service in the area of the park and found one report in 2010 for littering and one complaint of shots fired in the canyon for 2011,” Allen said, noting that most activity in the canyon is from May to August.

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