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Revamp of Mountain View Cemetery bringing ADA compliance, adding plaques for each branch of military

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF OREGON CITY - Plans to restore the Oregon City Veterans Memorial Plaza include concrete podiums and plaques for each branch of the military. Oregon City's initiative to restore its Veterans Memorial Plaza received another significant boost with the Veterans of Foreign Wars' donation to purchase concrete podiums and plaques for each branch of the military. COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF OREGON CITY - VFW Post 1324 Commander Gregory Arnold hands a check to Mayor Rachel Lyles Smith on Nov. 20.

VFW Post 1324 Three Rivers Commander Greg Arnold presented a $12,000 donation to city commissioners at their Oct. 20 meeting. Mountain View Cemetery, 500 Hilda St., recognizes all veterans and houses 16 memorial plaques for service members from WWI, WWII, five sailors, soldiers and four other service members lost in the line of duty.

"We are so grateful to the VFW Post 1324 for their partnership," said Mayor Rachel Lyles Smith. "The city of Oregon City takes pride in our enduring relationship with the VFW; it is our honor and obligation to help ensure that service members and branches of the military are appropriately recognized. This significant gift from the VFW will go a long way in moving forward the historic work that is happening at the Veterans Memorial Plaza."COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF OREGON CITY - Phase 1 completion of the memorial project involved construction of footings, retaining walls, pathway and stairs.COURTESY PHOTO - A Veterans Memorial area of Mountain View Cemetery is located just inside the main cemetery gate, adjacent to the Parents of Murdered Children memorial area.

In 2019, state officials announced an $8,000 contribution to Oregon City's project that is bringing the Veterans Memorial up to ADA accessibility standards. This phase of the project had $13,848 total project cost matched by $5,848 in city funding.

Oregon City removed pathway trip hazards from an old-growth sequoia's roots and created a more usable gathering space to accommodate guests. The site of Memorial Day commemoration events for 131 years, the cemetery annually hosts hundreds of people at a commemorative service and an event for the Parents of Murdered Children Day of Remembrance.

Oregon City Parks and Recreation Director Kendall Reid said, "We are excited to be moving forward with this project and appreciate the support of the VFW Post 1324 to help pave the way for a safer and more accessible location where families and the community can gather. It is important that parks reflect the community they serve and are inclusive of the community's culture, background and identity."

Oregon City's project will construct seating, install Veterans Memorial signage and add railings and stairs where needed. Various organizations that represent the interests of Clackamas County veterans collaborated to review the cemetery's Veteran Memorial rehabilitation plan, in addition to providing volunteer and financial support.

"We were looking for ways to modernize the plaza, make it accessible and safer," Arnold said. "I was honored to sit in on the planning process and help provide valuable input and guidance."

Part of the project includes relocating 31 existing bronze memorial plaques from the aging benches and walkway of the courtyard area to a more prominent, well-marked, visible area.

Founded in 1848, the 55-acre Mountain View Cemetery has veterans from every war and conflict since the middle of the 19th century. Records show there are 152 Civil War veterans and approximately 340 more veterans placed in the cemetery's older sections. Several thousand veterans have been buried throughout the cemetery since its establishment. The cemetery remains active with an average of 100 burials per year.

Mountain View Cemetery has received two prior grants through the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries, one for security cameras and another for repair of damaged headstones in the Old Cemetery. Since installation of the security cameras from the first grant, cemetery officials reported a significant decrease in cemetery vandalism. With the second grant award, 27 damaged headstones were repaired from vandalism that occurred before installation of the security cameras.COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF OREGON CITY - City Commission and VFW Post 1324 members gather to celebrate the memorial contribution on Nov. 20.

Work began April 2019 to hire Lango Hansen, Landscape Architects to help plan the renovation. The project broke ground this summer when the site was demolished and graded. D&D Concrete and Utilities was hired to pour footings, retaining walls, pathways and stairs.


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