Group hopes to honor veterans with Lake Oswego memorial
Residents, former city councilor are raising funds for the project, which is now in the design phase
Former City Councilor Karen Bowerman and a group of Lake Oswego residents are making rapid progress toward their goal of installing a new Veterans Memorial in Foothills Park to honor the service of first responders and military veterans.
The project recently received approval from the City Council and has now moved to the design and fundraising phase.
The memorial is envisioned as a place for reflection, Bowerman says, providing an artistic and welcoming environment to honor both those who are actively serving and those before us who have served.
The idea for the project originated with Bowerman and residents Bob Hill and Scott Thompson. Last year, the trio created a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation called the LO Veterans Memorial Corporation in order to advocate for the project and raise funds.
The three now serve on the organizations board of directors, along with Lake Oswego residents Mike Holm and John Hanan.
Having lived in the Lake Oswego community my whole life, Im hoping this memorial will justly honor those whose sacrifice has made Lake Oswego possible, Thompson says.
The group initially met with Lake Oswegos Parks and Recreation Advisory Board in June 2015, and parks department staff then spent a month working with members of the memorial group to evaluate potential sites in the citys various parks. Their recommendation: a roughly triangular lawn area located to the east of the parking lot in Foothills Park.
The evaluation was looking for an area that would be large enough and had the right amenities within an existing park for events that might be held at the location, Parks & Recreation Director Ivan Anderholm said at a recent City Council meeting, but also a very serene area where people could go and reflect on both veterans and first responders.
Bowerman and the other directors then began working with landscape architects and an attorney to develop a plan for designing and funding the park. All of the participants donated their time for the initial work. At a meeting on June 7, the group appeared before the City Council to present a draft development agreement, which calls for the corporation to raise the necessary funds for the design and construction of the memorial.
This has been a true labor of love, Bowerman told the Council, because of the belief of the board that veterans and first responders really deserve this kind of facility.
The Parks & Rec Department and the City Council will both need to approve the final design plan, and the nonprofit will need to raise all of the necessary funds for construction before the City is obligated to move forward. Once the funding is secure, the City will take over and handle the permitting process and construction contracts.
The development of the Master Plan and the design work is to be paid for by the nonprofit, Anderholm told the council. We are sitting at the table to be a review of that, but the project itself from design and engineering through construction the nonprofit is responsible for funding.
The council approved the deal, and the group is now busy drafting concept designs for the memorial. It plans to collect public input and feedback at a public forum, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. on July 19. Interested attendees are asked to contact Hill at 503-793-8249 to RSVP and receive details of the meeting location.
What a privilege it is for our city, Lake Oswego, to have a place that will honor first responders and the veterans who have served in the U.S. military, Hill says, a memorial where family, friends and visitors can pay their respect and reflect on the past, present and future of those who serve the welfare of our community and our country.
Donations for the memorial can be sent to Thompson, who also serves as the groups treasurer, at P.O. Box 1188, Lake Oswego, OR 97035. The group also plans to launch a website for online donations soon.