Newly poured sidewalk vandalized outside Rio Theatre

Benny Westcott

Rio Theatre owner Thomas Baham is asking for help identifying a man caught on video Wednesday, Nov. 9, vandalizing a new sidewalk in front of his venue.

Baham said that a community member has offered a $500 reward for whoever finds the person responsible.

Baham had been saving and planning for a sidewalk improvement project since the pre-COVID-19 era. He said that seeing the Oregon Department of Transportation’s work this year on sidewalks spurred him into action.

“I thought, ‘Hey, if they’re redoing the sidewalk, let’s continue it and make it look nice in front of the theater,” he said. “It wasn’t on my plan of things to do this year, but I did it.”

So he took out the old sidewalk and replaced it with black concrete.

The concrete needed only a single evening to set, but that night a man went around the theater’s barriers, cones, caution tape and warning signs and walked across the length of the plastic covering the freshlypoured concrete. The next day, Baham found footprint indentations in the hardened sidewalk.

“We just finished at 10 p.m., and he did that at 10:20,” Baham said. “I want him arrested and charged for the stupidity. This is just a stupid move. And it’s a deliberate act of vandalism. It costs me a lot of money and the people of this town a lot of money, because it’s our profit from the theater that’s doing that.”

The theater posted security footage of the incident on its Facebook page the following day.

Baham said the sidewalk cost him $15,000, adding, “And I’m guessing it would be $15,000 to do it again.”

He noted that the new sidewalk will have a sand finish and Hollywood Walk of Fame stars.

“The company that makes those stars came out last Saturday from Hollywood to make sure that it’s right, because they don’t just

sell to anybody,” he said. “They want to make sure it’s the right color and size, where it’s going, etc.”

Baham asked that anyone with information about the incident or the culprit contact him and the Sweet Home Police Department.