Thief steals $100s in fundraiser dahlias

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This sign stands where a pot of dahlias once stood in a parking-strip garden at NE Klickitat near 60th Avenue in Portland, Ore. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A fundraiser at-risk high schoolers is hit by thieves — and this isn’t the first time.

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Dahlias sway in the wind at a parking-strip garden at NE Klickitat near 60th Avenue in Portland, Ore. (KOIN 6 News)

Tonight its leader is fighting back.

Retired school teacher Carol Halvorson sells fresh flowers from her garden on NE Klickitat near 60th Avenue. She insists if the thief only knew who he or she was stealing from — then the stolen dahlias would be returned.

Her parking-strip fundraising garden is run on an honor system: $5 per bouquet. But, as of late, someone has been helping himself or herself to the flowers at her street corner at a rate of about one plant a month.

“I just feel someone is low to steal someone’s plants, especially from poor kids,” Halvorson said.

She said she donates all proceeds from her dahlia bouquets to the Parkrose Alternative Center, helping at-risk teens with college applications and reading supplies.

“I was so upset,” she told KOIN 6 News Monday. “…Nothing else has been stolen.”

The thief got away with six plants — including the pots. But last year 15 whole plants disappeared.

Halvorson suspects it is the same person — stealing hundreds of dollars worth of flowers and ultimately stealing from teenagers who count on the donations.

“This is all donated time and effort,” she said. “It is inconceivable that a person would be doing this.”

Calling the thief’s actions “selfish,” Halvorson hopes the person will have a change of heart the next time when they see her sign. And she offers this stern message: “Your actions are selfish. You’re denying kids!”

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Retired school teacher Carol Halvorson shows KOIN Reporter Joel Iwanaga the spot where a group of dahlias were heisted from her northeast Portland parking-strip plot sometime before Sept. 9, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)

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