If all goes as planned, Tualatin could see a veterans memorial located at Tualatin Commons. That's based on the recommendations of extensive surveys, public meetings and input from a stakeholder advisory committee regarding where to site such a project.
"We received a fantastic response and involvement from community members during 11 meetings, three surveys and other public engagement," said Rich Mueller, parks planning and development manager for the City of Tualatin. "We plan to move forward as we develop funding to bring the memorial to the next stage.
Mueller said more than 900 community members provided input on where to site a memorial as well as coming up with concepts and other ideas involving such a project.
"The next project steps include schematic design with public engagement, construction drawings and documents, cost estimates, and funding opportunities," said Mueller.
During a June 22 Tualatin City Council work session, Jessel Champoux, a project manager and associate with consulting firm Shapiro Didway, said eight potential sites for such a memorial were initially identified over an eight month period.
"We took a look at a number of sites in which we did a site assessment for those sites and assessed whether they were suitable for such a memorial," she said.
Champoux said they looked at detailed information such as transportation, accessibility, parking, tree cover, character of the site, type of noise and other site information as well as listening to what community members liked.
As a result, those eight potential sites were whittled down to three by the stakeholder group: Tualatin Commons, Brown's Ferry Park and Sweek Pond Natural Area. Tualatin Commons ultimately came out on top.
The proposed area identified at Tualatin Commons is located on the eastern edge of the facility, which is directly across the lake from the main plaza/gathering space/restrooms, just adjacent to Lee's Kitchen restaurant. A preliminary concept plan suggested incorporating such elements as access to a main gathering space as well as an intimate/passive space, a dedication area and other elements.
At the same time, Champoux said a big objective of a memorial outreach effort was to determine who the memorial should honor and who it should not, which was reflected in surveys, she said. The top vote-getters went to building a memorial that honors all military service member and branches; military family members; themes of freedom and peace, not war; and hidden heroes, which would focus on civilian supporters.
Surveys also stressed that any memorial built should not emphasize war or glorify violence in any way, Champoux said. Rather, it should focus on service and provide a positive message. In addition, she said the push was not to overwhelm everyone with too much information/educational facts but rather to make it an inclusive space.
During discussion of the proposed project, Councilor Robert Kellogg said traveling to Arlington and Willamette national cemeteries, he's noticed the solitude of those locations, which he said provided a time to reflect and enjoy nature.
"I'm concerned those opportunities aren't available if this memorial is tucked in at the Commons because there's so much activity going on there," said Kellogg. "And I look at the Sweek Pond site and see that it has a lot of those opportunities and I know it's a little bit off the beaten path but I wonder if some signage and some attention that would be put on it to get people there would solve that minor problem."
However, Mueller explained Tualatin Commons was selected over Sweek Pond Natural Area because "it's more visible, it's more visited, more people know where it's at" as well as having more area to park.
The Commons area is home to such annual events as the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta and the city's annual holiday tree-lighting event Starry Nights and Holiday Lights.
Joe Lipscomb, a Korean War veteran who lives in Tualatin and was part of the stakeholder group, said several veteran's groups were supportive of The Commons location as well, pointing out there is ample room for gatherings and to memorialize those who served.
Lipscomb said the location provides an inviting environment as well.
"I envision it as having a lot of things about women from all of the wars verses just the men that we normally find," said Joe Lipscomb. "There's a tremendous opportunity to do that with that particular piece of property."
Schematic design, along with public engagement is expected to cost $64,140, according to city staff. Construction drawings will cost an estimated $123,482 with permits and bid documents projected to run around $21,231.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.