News

Sunflower graffiti sprouts downtown

Downtown merchants do not think this is the type of beautification Oak Harbor planners have in mind.

Over the last couple of weeks, stenciled sunflowers have been spray-painted on buildings, planters and electrical boxes downtown. A Whidbey News-Times reporter counted seven such flowers.

“If they would have done a better job, it would have looked good,” Ace Hardware Floor Manager Cheryl Wieldraayer said. “It’s not blatant meanness.”

The flowery vandal struck several other businesses around the area of Pioneer Way, between Ely Street and Dock Street.

“We figured it was no big deal, just some kid pulling a prank on us,” said Chad Rodarmel, grounds manager at New Leaf on Fidalgo Avenue.

Then the vandal or vandals returned to adorn the building with a second rendition. This time, it was in the back of the building.

Production Manager Glenn Kincaid reportedly told Rodarmel, “They’re growing daisies in the back, too.”

Oak Harbor Police Capt. Rick Wallace said he had not heard of the crime wave that has literally sprouted downtown.

At Island Drug, a similar scene had occurred. A black sunflower appeared inconspicuously on an electrical box behind the building.

“I wonder what the sunflower means,” Island Drug Owner Aaron Syring said. “How bizarre.”

Syring said he was not aware of the image until a News-Times reporter notified him.

“At least it’s not totally destroying property,” he said.

Further down Pioneer Way, Casual House Manager Jill Schacht also had not seen the addition to her building’s paint job. Three of the flowers could be seen from her building.

“A black sunflower — is it poetic somehow?” she mused.

For now, the mystery remains intact, along with several of the paintings, which have not been removed.

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