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Happy Valley Veterans Memorial Park

HONORING OUR VETERANS

The City of Happy Valley is proud to possess a permanent feature to honor the men and women who served our country.

Development of the Veterans Memorial Park: A Multiphase Project
The Happy Valley Veterans Memorial Park was a multiphase project, starting with initial landscaping and construction, followed by the addition of memorial artwork and dedicated plaques to honor military service members.

The project’s genesis dates back to 2014, with the installation of a simple stone labyrinth created in the park space adjacent to City Hall. In 2016, the City Council discussed the opportunity to create a more robust landmark dedicated to veterans. A work group was convened that included local veterans, City staff, and parks and art committee members. Together, these entities developed a plan that was submitted to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission for grant consideration with the hope that it would be an integral fixture in Happy Valley to ensure that all veterans in our community are remembered.

 

 

Project efforts officially commenced when the City of Happy Valley was awarded a Veterans and War Memorial Grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission. Approximately $75,000 of grant dollars helped fund the infrastructure, with the City covering costs related to site preparation, irrigation, and landscaping. Surrounding the labyrinth are benches and lighted flags for each branch of the military. In addition, a retaining wall was built with the idea that future engravings would be added and space for sculpture art was reserved.

Several community groups partnered in the Cityโ€™s grant proposal to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission. Letters of project support were submitted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1324; 364th Civil Affairs Brigade, Department of the Army, based out of Camp Withycombe; Senator Alan Olsen; and the City of Happy Valley advisory committees for parks and public art.

๐˜—๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ง๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ง๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต: ๐˜”๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฌ ๐˜ˆ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ (๐˜—๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฌ๐˜ด ๐˜ˆ๐˜ฅ๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ ๐˜Š๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ณ), ๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜‹๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฅ ๐˜Œ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ช, ๐˜”๐˜ข๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜›๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ ๐˜Œ๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ด, ๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ด ๐˜”๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฌ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜บ ๐˜‹๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜‰๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ต ๐˜š๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ, ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ญ ๐˜—๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜‹๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฅ ๐˜Ž๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฃ๐˜ข๐˜บ

Veterans Memorial Site

Dedicated in a formal ceremony on August 20, 2021, the Happy Valley Veterans Memorial Park was officially introduced to the community as a space to gather and thank the service men and women in our nationโ€™s military. Local veterans, representatives, community members, and City staff attended the event to celebrate the parkโ€™s completion and honor the veteransโ€™ service to our country.

The following veterans helped raise the flags:

Mayor Tom Ellis, Petty Officer 3rd Class, Roderman 3rd Class US Coast Guard

Andy Anderson, Chief Master Sgt. US Air Force

Chuck Morris, Petty Officer 1st Class US Navy

Bill Hendrix, Private 1st Class US Marine Corp

Al Caiazzo, Private 1st Class US Army

In 2023, the City received a second grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission to continue enhancing the Veterans Memorial. Efforts would focus on installing a sculpture and improving the existing retaining walls. There were also plans to construct a new pathway to better connect the parkโ€™s space to the pedestrian sidewalk along SE 162nd Avenue.

Approximately 50 artwork proposals were considered for the sculpture feature, with Oregon City artist, Travis Pond, ultimately commissioned. His sculpture depicts an eagle with a wingspan of more than 12 feet in flight, representing the pride, bravery and courage needed to be a soldier and serve our country. The eagle is comprised of repurposed steel from the community, military surplus items, and other metals used by military service men and women. While the individual pieces are recognizable (dog tags, shovels, etc.), the pieces are welded together to form a larger-than-life composition that depicts a cohesive whole. The sculpture, which stands over 10 feet tall, is mounted on a six-sided base, representing the different military branches.

On May 21, 2024, the City proudly unveiled the new sculpture and retaining wall at Happy Valley’s Veterans Memorial Park. The event reaffirmed the Cityโ€™s commitment to recognizing and honoring those in the community who have served in the military.

Mayor Tom Ellis, sculpture artist Travis Pond, and local resident Lieutenant Colonel Chris Markesino of the Oregon National Guard shared their perspectives and discussed the importance of the sculpture’s addition.

The City of Happy Valley would like to thank the following individuals and groups for their gracious support in making this art possible:

Travis Pond
The Veterans Memorial Task Force
Joint Base Lewis-McChord for the donation of military artifacts
Three Rivers Veterans of Foreign Wars Post Thirteen Twenty-Four
The Parks Advisory Committee
The Public Art Advisory Committee
and most importantly, all local veterans!

City plants Peace Tree, celebrate

On Nov. 10, 2021, Councilors Sherman and Emami joined Jim Gersbach from the Oregon Department of Foresty to plant a new tree next to the Veteranโ€™s Park Memorial. Its roots date back well over 75 years halfway across the world. A ginkgo seedling, this tree was grown from seeds collected in Hiroshima, Japan and is a descendant of a tree that survived the atomic bombing of the Japanese city in 1945. The tree serves as a sign of hope โ€“ that even amid unexpected devastation and loss of life, there can be optimism for recovery and a brighter future.

Similar seedlings have also been planted in parks throughout Oregon, all with the purpose of marking the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and to encourage peace. So many of these trees have been planted that Oregon now has one of the largest collections of Hiroshima peace trees of any state or nation outside Japan.

The City would like to thank One Sunny Day Initiative, Green Legacy Hiroshima, and the Oregon Department of Forestry for making this tree available and bringing lasting peace.

To learn more about this program and the significance of these seedlings, visitย https://www.oregon.gov/odf/forestbenefits/Pages/hiroshima-peace-trees.aspx

Councilor Sherman (far left) and Councilor Emami (center) join Jim Gersbach from the Oregon Department of Forestry to commemorate the planting of the Cityโ€™s ginkgo seedling. The seedling, which has a special history, was derived from trees that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan in 1945.