- Associated Press - Monday, November 3, 2014

REDMOND, Ore. (AP) - Volunteers trying to remove the mark of mankind from a complex of lava-tube caves near Redmond say they’re going to need more than just a day to finish the work.

Members of the Oregon High Desert Grotto spent Sunday working on the cleanup, the Bulletin newspaper (https://bit.ly/1xSBXSE) reported.

They encountered a splattering of mostly nonsensical spray-painted tags, broken glass, and the occasional hypodermic needle.

There was also a bright green University of Oregon “O” and a few feet away a soon-to-be-erased painting of a panda.

It took crew leader Neil Marchington eight minutes to sandblast the year “2014” from a freshly applied “Nicole 2014” tag at the mouth of the cave.

He said the cleanup is ongoing.

“We found burnt underwear the last time we were out here cleaning,” he said. “I guess you never know when you’ll need to burn some underwear.”

The caves were formed by molten lava flowing from the Newberry Caldera.

Now 33, Marchington said that when he was a student at Redmond High School, the caves were known as a place to make trouble.

Volunteer Ginger Livingston-Sanders, 52, said she’s reluctant to list directions to caves on her photography website given the conditions she’s encountered.

“With these caves here, I have a love-hate relationship,” Livingston-Sanders said. “I love how accessible they are to the public, but that’s also the problem. You have great caves around here that sadly have had to be gated.”


Information from: The Bulletin, https://www.bendbulletin.com

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