Pamplin Media Group – Happy Valley Seeks to Expand Veterans Memorial

The city is looking to install a sculpture and etch a wartime timeline along a maze in the square

Happy Valley applied for additional state grant funds to expand its Veterans Memorial adjacent to City Hall with new design features that invite more contemplative reflection and community gathering.

Dedicated in August 2021, the memorial site currently represents all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces with a custom bench, branch flag, and lighted flagpole, including the first of multiple phases of construction that project organizers originally planned, but n were able to finance only partially due to an unforeseen event. increased construction costs.

Funding of $74,500 for the first phase of the memorial was awarded to Happy Valley in 2019 through a grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission. The city has reapplyed to the commission in hopes of receiving enough to finalize the site’s original vision — which includes an immersive space for visitors to walk in solidarity with those who have served.

Ben Bryant, deputy city manager of Happy Valley, said if awarded, the approximately $58,000 in additional grants would be used to install an artistic sculpture honoring veterans and to engrave a timeline of the war. on the walls winding along a labyrinth on the existing square.

Bryant said that after talks began about building a veterans’ memorial next to City Hall in 2016, the veteran-led team assembled to conceptualize the site was considering carvings to incorporate the maze in the memorial rather than drastically alter the layout of the park.

“One of the things that people do in a maze is just walk through the course and kind of have some quiet thinking time,” Bryant said. “Even if you’re not a veteran, you can go out there and kind of stand in solidarity with the veteran community and just think about what that means.”PHOTO COURTESY: JAMIE LORENZINI - A U.S. Army flag is raised during the memorial's dedication ceremony in August 2021.

He added that the permanent sculpture has been proposed for the green space next to the Walk with Veterans and will be made by a local artist, who will be selected by a task force of area veterans to s ensure that the design reflects their experiences.

“Happy Valley has a long history of a rotating sculpture garden program at City Hall and we thought, ‘Why not establish a permanent veteran-themed sculpture directly at the Veterans Memorial?’ ‘” Bryant said.

The memorial site is strategically located midway between Willamette National Cemetery and Camp Withycombe, an active National Guard facility. Prior to the 2021 memorial dedication, the closest veterans memorial to Happy Valley was Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.

Projects receiving state grants will be notified on March 1, with work expected to begin the following month. Happy Valley anticipates construction of the memorial to take place from April to May 2023.

Bryant said he sees the current memorial project as a chance “to honor the veterans who live and work in Happy Valley and call attention to the sacrifices they made” in a space where those who are not veterans can also learn and reflect.

“What better place to do that than in the heart of our community?” says Bryant. “Continuing to develop the veterans memorial and making it better and more visible is something we look forward to.”

To learn more about the Happy Valley Veterans Memorial Park project, click here. To learn more about grants offered by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission, click here.

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