Island at Roshak and Barrows roads to include flagpole, plaque and bench

A Southridge High School sophomore is dedicating his Eagle Scout project to memorializing Pfc. Andrew Keller, a U.S. Army soldier killed in action in Afghanistan last August, in the roundabout island at Southwest Barrows and Roshak roads.

With Andrew’s father, Jeff, by his side, Thomas Grooms, an Eagle Scout candidate in Boy Scout Troop 871, presented the plan to the Beaverton City Council at its Tuesday evening meeting. Conceived in collaboration with several community members, businesses and organizations, the project will create a permanent memorial in the roundabout island just down the road from the Kellers’ home. It will include a flagpole, plaque, landscaping and a memorial bench dedicated to Keller, a 2008 Southridge graduate, as well as other fallen soldiers. At the request of Keller’s family, the Troop 871 scouts encircled the roundabout with 22 flags last September, just days after Keller was killed in the line of duty in Charkh, Afghanistan, on Aug. 15, 2012.Pfc. Andrew Keller

“Doing this will remind the whole community and the Keller family of the love of the community and their respect for our patriots,” Grooms told the council.

Grooms is working on the project with Brett Roesch, who serves with the Oregon Army National Honor Guard and whose son is a sophomore at Southridge. Local individuals and community businesses providing initial financial and other support for the project include Ed Bartholoemy of Bartholemy Construction, Mark Harmon with Harmon Construction Inc., Brent Fitch with SFA Design Group, retired soldier Clancy Standridge and Audrey McGlaughlin Landscape Architect.

The roundabout is located between Southwest Scholls Ferry Road and Southwest Night Heron Lane near the Bull Mountain area.

With any luck, the project, or at least part of it, could be completed in time for Memorial Day weekend in late May, said Jeff Keller. He thanked Thomas, along with city planning officials and the council for helping the project along.

“Thomas is a great young man who didn’t know us before this started but was touched by Andrew,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to see his growth in this process.”

Inspired by Wayne Sackley, his former scoutmaster in Troop 871, Thomas said the flags in the roundabout got him thinking about a more permanent memorial to Keller that would work well as a leadership project on his path to earning his Eagle Scout ranking.

“It was supposed to be an easy, quick thing, but it turned out to be a really long thing,” the 15-year-old said after the council meeting.

Council members praised Thomas and Keller for their dedication to honoring Andrew and other fallen soldiers.

“I think your project is just commendable,” Councilor Betty Bode said to Thomas. “That you would step up and recognize someone from your generation who tried to take care of us all ... For community members to step up and donate time and supplies is just incredible.”

Councilor Marc San Soucie concurred.

“I think this is going to be both very attractive and very thoughtful,” he said. “It’s a wonderful asset to that part of the city, and I look forward to seeing it on a regular basis.”

Jeff Keller is grateful for the city’s support, particularly after another community campaign to rename the Southridge High School athletic stadium in honor of his son, who served as captain of the school’s Skyhawk squad, proved unsuccessful. Despite strong support from community members, the Beaverton School Board recently decided against a policy change that would allow naming school faculties after individuals. The board adopted a slightly revised naming policy earlier this month.

“There have been so many positive things done in recognition of Andrew,” Jeff Keller said after the council meeting. “It’s easy to get pissed off with the School Board, but I’m not going to do it. Whether the community was successful in getting the School Board to change the policy was not the point. The community stepped up, and (the decision) doesn’t change the respect and love I have for the community.”

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