Peace Candle preservation efforts continue with new owner
In recent months, Scappoose city staff and community members have worked to protect the future of the historic Peace Candle of the World.
The 1.9-acre property was purchased earlier this year by Mark Madden through a limited liability corporation called VW 1 PDX. Madden is the founder and chief executive officer of WDC Properties.
WDC Properties plans to build a large apartment complex on the land.
After the Spotlight reported on the plans in July, more than 3,000 people signed an online petition to save the Candle.
Patty Conroy, a Scappoose resident, spoke at a City Council meeting last week to urge the city to focus on the Candle as a beacon for world peace.
Conroy said she is visiting with various religious groups to encourage participation in the Peace Candle project, whatever that project may be.
The goal "is to get people to look at and starting to think about world peace," Conroy said.
The Candle was maintained for years by the private landowners, the Grabhorn family. The city of Scappoose has not had a role in the maintenance of the Candle but is now working with WDC to negotiate an easement around the property, which would allow city staff to enter the property for repairs and upkeep.
Negotiations with WDC are ongoing, City Planner Laurie Oliver explained at a recent City Council meeting.
WDC has nine properties currently listed as in development on their website, including apartment complexes in Ketchum, Idaho; Camas, Washington; Gresham; Eugene; and Portland.
The Peace Candle has particular significance to community members who have lived in Scappoose since the Candle was still lit with a gas flame. It was constructed in 1971, when the owner of a candle factory decided to coat a silo in more than 40,000 pounds of candle wax and top it with a wick.
The Candle was dedicated by Gov. Tom McCall on Mother's Day, May 9, 1971. A gas torch lit up the candle until the factory burned down. Then, the gas torch was replaced with an electronic flame and the wax was replaced with a cement, sand and water mixture.
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