City officials, VFW compromise to find solution

by: ROBIN JOHNSON - Tom Ford, commander of the Scappoose Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4362, voices concerns to the Scappoose City Council over a recently installed pathway that sweeps past the Armed Forces Memorial in Veterans Park.Members of the Scappoose Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4362 appeared at a Scappoose City Council meeting Monday, April 7, to voice concerns over a pathway near the Armed Forces Memorial in Veterans Park.

The veterans argued the pathway obstructed the memorial and said they wished they’d been consulted prior to its installation.

Tom Ford, commander of the Scappoose VFW, said a recently cut pathway sweeping past the memorial and connecting to the park’s bocce courts — which are still under construction — encroaches on the memorial’s “zone of reverence.” The zone, Ford said, is an unspoken rule among veterans that allows room for reflection.

On Wednesday, Ford met with Scappoose city officials to come to an unofficial resolution on the issue. Ford said he and the city agreed that planting shrubs along the pathway would help to conceal it from those visiting the memorial.

by: ROBIN JOHNSON - Scappoose veterans say memorials, such as the Armed Forces Memorial in Veterans Park, should hold an unspoken 'zone of reverence,' which allows visitors room for reflection.The pathway connects to a cement slab which was initially installed to provide wheelchair access to the memorial. To provide the same access to the bocce courts — which is required under the Americans with Disabilities Act — contractors connected their path to the slab as well.

“When we put the path in, we were being respectful of the veterans with the way we put it in,” said Mike Neish, owner of Bocce e Luce, the company Scappoose contracted to install the courts. “Instead of gravel, we chose to go out of pocket to pour concrete.”

While some suggested the pathway be moved, the courts were budgeted at $50,000 and contracted at $49,751, allowing little flexibility for such expenditures.

“I went in to this thing knowing the city was kind of stuck,” Ford said. “I never really had any aspirations it was going to be resolved.”

Ford said the city will now seek a landscaping company to outline a design for the space for the VFW’s approval.

“There is a proposed plan for a landscape designer to assist in the beautification of the area,” Ford said. “There’s nothing else we can do. They can’t fill in the existing dugout, and we understand their position.”

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