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Open houses at Tualatin Lake at the Commons are set for Feb. 18 and 19 to collect public suggestions

COURTESY PHOTO: TUALATIN PARKS AND RECREATION - Heres the site of the new veterans memorial in Tualatin.Tualatin is asking residents to weigh in on what type of design they'd like to see for a proposed veterans memorial planned for the Lake at the Commons.

To help determine that, Tualatin Parks and Recreation is hosting two open houses from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18, and Saturday, Feb. 19, at the Tualatin Lake at the Commons.

The goal is to see how the entire space, which will be located across the lake from the main plaza and restrooms, will be used for the city's first salute to those who served their country.

"We're using that time to gather the ideas to create the design options that will be available on the virtual open house in mid-March," said Kyla Cesca, a city spokesperson.

After the open houses, project consultants will create designs and present them to the public in an engaging way, Cesca said. Those ideas are expected to be up on the city's website on or about March 28.

"There'll be lots of opportunity for people to get out there and see what's going on," Cesca said about the open houses, where several tents will be set up to keep residents dry and spaced safety apart during the continuing pandemic, she said.

"We've done a number of focus groups with veterans organizations (the) VFW, Forward Assist, the local Tualatin veterans organization, parks advisory art advisory, those types of groups," said Rich Mueller, parks planning and development manager for the city.

Those groups, along with the two days of open houses, will guide consultants in their design plans.

Mueller said the first phase of the veterans memorial project determined who should be honored in that space, along with themes and objectives, which included connection, engagement, experience, shared values and timelessness.

"There's no preconceived ideas here. (We want) community and veterans to come forward and tell us what they'd like," he said.

While Mueller acknowledges that there are site constraints regarding what the design can include, city staff welcome input on water features, landscaping, gathering spaces, storytelling and more.

After designs are finalized in the spring, one final design will be presented to the Tualatin City Council in July.

Mueller said the final veterans memorial plaza proposal will contain cost estimates as well.

"What the community selects in this area will really inform the budget, and we'll go from there," said Mueller.

While no specific sources for funding have been identified, Tualatin officials have talked about grants, capital improvement funds, a possible future voter initiative and bonds as potential ways to pay for the project, Mueller said.

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