Vandals enter fluoride debate, upsetting both sides

Vandals enter fluoride debate, upsetting both sides »Play Video
Craig Mossbaek, right, says he came out Saturday morning to find his pro-fluoridation sign (foreground) burned in his front yard. He says he'll probably leave it there as a statement until after the campaign.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The upcoming fluoride vote is leading to some bad behavior.

A high school teenager went before the Portland City Council and told of how supporting water fluoridation led to a disturbing case of vandalism.

And video given to KATU News by Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland, the group supporting water fluoridation, shows a woman walking up to a lawn sign and kicking it over. The video was sent to them by one of their supporters.

For Craig Mossbaek, it was a different kind of vandalism. The pro-fluoridation sign in his front yard was set on fire.

"I came out Saturday morning and I saw the lawn sign was gone. And then as I got closer, I noticed it had been burned, it had been set on fire," he said.

He also said his neighbor's sign was stolen a couple days ago.

It was Mossbaek's daughter, Ellie, who spoke before city commissioners.

"I don't get angry at people who disagree with fluoride, but burning that sign made me angry," she told them, adding during an interview that people should be able to express themselves without feeling threatened or scared.

Craig Mossbaek said he probably won't be putting another sign out in his front yard; instead, he'll be focusing his efforts on getting out the vote. He's a volunteer for Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland.

"I kind of want to leave (the burned sign) there as a statement that this isn't appropriate," he said. "When the campaign's over, I'll take the sign down – what's left of it."

He has no idea who set his lawn sign on fire. And the woman in the surveillance footage hasn't been identified, either.

The other side, Clean Water Portland has also reported sign theft and vandalism.
 
"This is a huge distraction to the main issue – voters have the ballot in their hands right now," said K.C. Hanson of Clean Water Portland.

"I couldn't have anticipated and didn't expect to see this," said Evyn Mitchell of Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland.


Other stories on KATU.com on the fluoride debate: