Residents living along the Columbia River Gorge spotted an unwelcome sight on April 23: The cliffs on the Washington side of the river, across from Rooster Rock, were tagged with graffiti.

Photos show the Cape Horn Cliffs with a range of brightly colored and white tags.

Credit Darren Gillette
Credit Darren Gillette

Friends of the Columbia Gorge, a nonprofit that protects the gorge, has contacted the U.S. Forest Service, which is working on a plan to respond, a press release from the nonprofit says.

"Seeing the graffiti photos was heartbreaking," says Executive Director Kevin Gorman. "Like many who work or live in the Gorge, I'm angry. But we must give time for authorities to conduct a proper and thorough investigation."

The group says its volunteers have already volunteered to help with a clean-up, and they advise anyone who sees graffiti in the Gorge to alert law enforcement officials.

The Cape Horn Cliffs are huge basalt outcroppings, 500 feet high, which travelers in the wake of the Lewis and Clark Expedition called "Gibralter."

"This is a strange handiwork of nature," Andrew Jenson wrote in 1895, "composed of solid rock of apparent bark formation, rising abruptly from the water's edge, and so peculiarly erected on a base of perpendicular square rocks, as to have the appearance of piling.