Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the rise in Boring
A Vietnam Veterans Memorial dedicated to the Clackamas County natives who lost their lives in the war has been a long time coming.
Now, after about two years of fundraising and planning, the project by Boring's Committee on Memorials and Remembrance, Friends of Boring Station Trailhead Park and the Boring, Oregon Foundation is nearly complete.
The 7-foot high, 3-foot wide slab, black granite monument is set to feature the names of all 42 soldiers from Clackamas County who died during the Vietnam War and sit prominently in the southern portion of Boring Station Trailhead Park.
"The Vietnam War was my generation's war," Steve Bates, Boring resident and chair of the Committee on Memorials and Remembrance, told The Post in an interview last year. Though he did not fight in Vietnam, he wants to commemorate those who did. "I experienced the American dream. I feel a debt since they gave up their American dream so I could have mine."
The first phase cost $15,000 and the following three phases cost $10,000 collectively.
At this point, the project is only about $1,750 short of full funding, and Bates hopes to have the memorial ready for a dedication ceremony at 2 p.m. May 17.
The stone is being engraved this week, but people are still welcome to donate to the memorial fund. Any donations contributed after the project is fully paid for will go to a maintenance fund for the memorial.
So far, 20 percent of the funds raised have been donated via social media, 20 percent was raised by one Vietnam veteran and the other 60 percent came from local community members and businesses in Gresham, Damascus, Boring and Sandy.
"(The project) was well-received," Bates added. "It goes to show you that when you think things aren't going to work out, they usually do. It was a very easy process — the Friends of Boring Station Trailhead Park agreed unanimously to the project and design. The county parks agreed with the project unanimously."
Just as this project is wrapping up, Bates said he is already working on initiating his next project: a state memorial at the Capitol.
Bates has already received the support of a few legislators and begun compiling a steering committee, which is still accepting people.
More that 700 Oregon families lost at least one son during the Vietnam War, four lost two sons.
Bates hopes to have that memorial up and open to the public by 2020-21. The committee has discussed organizing the names on the memorial by hometown.
"It was a community loss, not just a family loss," Bates added. "There's no other statewide memorial I know of that has such a feature. We want it to be different and educational, and most importantly, we want to perpetuate the memories of the men who served, the men who lost their lives."
Tax deductible donations can be made to the Vietnam Memorial Fund, Boring, Oregon Foundation, P.O. Box 1448, Boring, OR 97009.