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Purple Heart Trail signage placed along Interstate 5 in Tualatin

TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Military Order of the Purple Heart and Ladies' Auxiliary members gather behind a new freeway sign before its installation along Interstate 5 in Tualatin.A new freeway sign in Tualatin honors recipients of the Purple Heart, a military honor awarded to service members wounded or killed in the line of duty.

The sign, which marks Interstate 5 as a Purple Heart Trail, was installed Wednesday morning at the junction of the freeway and Interstate 205.

An event was held Tuesday at the Juanita Pohl Center in Tualatin as an opportunity for members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and Ladies' Auxiliary to gather, see the new sign before its installation and take some photos.

“I think it's a real honor for Purple Heart recipients to have the sign and have I-5 named, and with Tualatin being a Purple Heart City now, too,” said Bill Manderfeld, a Tualatin veteran who received the Purple Heart while serving in the military during the Vietnam War. “We didn't get (much) honor coming back, but more and more now.”

Last year, the Oregon Legislative Assembly voted to designate the state's portion of I-5 as a Purple Heart Trail, joining its counterparts in Washington and California. Additionally, it designated I-5 as the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway, signage for which is also being placed along the interstate.

“We've been working on this for the past three years … and I'm happy to say that 2015, we got it done,” said Charlie Upton, Oregon commander for the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

Upton said his group has raised about $7,500 to pay for signage up and down I-5.

Troy Hesselgesser, a sign crew coordinator with the Oregon Department of Transportation, said his crews went out to install the new sign at about 9 a.m. Wednesday, putting it up in spite of heavy rainfall.

The sign in Tualatin is visible to southbound travelers on I-5.

In a separate action, the Tualatin City Council voted last year to designate Tualatin as a “Purple Heart City.” The council issued a proclamation encouraging individuals and businesses in the city “to show their appreciation for the sacrifices Purple Heart recipients have made in defending our freedoms, to acknowledge their courage, and to show them the honor and support they have earned.”

King City councilors adopted a similar resolution last month as well.

Several other highways and freeways in Oregon were also designated by the state government in honor of war veterans last year.