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Supporters Unveil Proposal To Build Vietnam War Memorial On Oregon Capitol Grounds

Vietnam War Memorial Fund

The Oregon State Capitol grounds could be home to a Vietnam War Memorial by 2022. Supporters of the project unveiled their proposal  Tuesday in Salem.

The centerpiece of the memorial would be a series of black granite columns that would include the names of Oregonians who died in the war. It would also include a statue honoring the struggles of returning Vietnam veterans.

Portland-based landscape architect Mike Abbate designed the proposed memorial. “The Vietnam War Memorial at the state capitol will be a place to remember the sacrifice of others, to learn about this war that divided the country, and to pause and reflect on our own liberties that have come at such a great price,” he said.

Supporters hope to raise $2.7 million in private funds to complete the memorial, which would open on Veterans Day, 2022. The non-profit that's leading the effort said it has no plans to ask for public funding, but wouldn't rule that out if private donations come up short. Lawmakers will be asked to approve the plan during the 2020 session, and in particular the location on the southwest corner of the state capitol grounds.

Credit Chris Lehman / KLCC
Sen. James Manning, D-Eugene, speaks in support of the proposed Vietnam War Memorial during a state capitol press conference.

Sen. James Manning, D-Eugene, said it's past time for a memorial honoring Vietnam veterans to be built at the Oregon capitol. "It should have been done a long time ago," he said. "But I want to accelerate it. I want to get it done yesterday."

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018 and became News Director in March, 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”