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Saturday fundraiser aims to build memorial wall

The parents of murder victim Ryan Johnson have organized the event

SUBMITTED PHOTO - The existing memorial wall at Mountain View Cemetery in Oregon City holds the names of 500 victims of homicide from Oregon and Washington and filled up in two years. New fundraising efforts hope to expand the memorial.Melissa and Tim Davis have been dealing with the loss of their son for more than four years now.

It was back on Jan. 26 of 2012 when that son — Ryan Lee Johnson - was murdered in the parking lot of Bales Thriftway in Aloha. He was shot to death by Jeffrey Brian Johnson in the culmination of a bitter custody dispute between Ryan Johnson and his former girlfriend Megan Johnson over their son Rylen.

Megan Johnson is the daughter of Jeffrey Johnson; he was later sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison before the possibility of parole.

The Davises, including their two other sons, have dealt with that loss every day since. They've struggled with it, and they've worked to survive it.

On Saturday, the Davis family will take another important step in its long and ongoing healing process when they host a fundraiser in the parking lot of Bales Thriftway, 17675 S.W. Farmington Road in Aloha.

The event will include raffles, a silent auction and food sales, all to benefit construction of a new memorial wall for victims of homicide located on the grounds of Mountain View Cemetery in Oregon City.

The event is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the raffles and auction taking place throughout the day and a live band performing from 1 to 3 p.m.

“We know we won't be able to raise all the money for it at once, but we need to continue to support it,” said Melissa Davis.

The fundraiser will actually pay for a second memorial wall at Mountain View Cemetery; the first wall — which includes the name of Ryan Johnson — was completed a couple years ago and was designed to hold the names of 500 murder victims from Oregon and Washington.

It was supposed to last for many years, but filled up in five, prompting Davis and many others — most associated with The National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children, Inc. — to begin work toward the next pieces of the memorial.

“It's beautiful,” Davis said of the first wall. “But it filled up in a snap.”

Saturday's fundraiser, in addition to the raffles and silent auction, will include food for sale, with hot dogs donated by Reser's Fine Foods cooked by Davis' father, Tom Jones. The meals for the fundraiser will also include macaroni salad, potato salad and bottled water.

And, Davis emphasized, while this effort is about her son, it's about many other victims and their families, too.

“It's not just for Ryan,” she said. “The wall is to celebrate and honor people's lives. It's about all the people on the wall.”

Supporters of the project have also set up a gofundme account to help raise money; it's at gofundme.com/Pomc.pdx.