Dayton Shooting: Committee sets up fund for permanent memorial

Published: Saturday, August 24, 2019 @ 6:00 AM

Native Daytonian Christi Colbert takes a picture of a new portrait that is on display in the Oregon District with the faces of the nine shooting victims painted by Abby Kaiser. Colbert was back in town from her current home in Maryland and visited East Fifth Street on Friday afternoon. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Ty Greenlees
Native Daytonian Christi Colbert takes a picture of a new portrait that is on display in the Oregon District with the faces of the nine shooting victims painted by Abby Kaiser. Colbert was back in town from her current home in Maryland and visited East Fifth Street on Friday afternoon. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Ty Greenlees)

Dayton is taking steps to establish a permanent memorial to the victims of the Oregon District mass shooting, and now the public can donate to a fund specifically for it.

Less than 24 hours after the shooting, memorials to the victims popped up in front of Ned Peppers Bar and Hole in the Wall. This week they were moved by the city.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said the special committee tasked with creating a permanent memorial in the Oregon District met Friday and set up a fund for the memorial with the Dayton Foundation.

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“The temporary memorial was something the community built, and it’s important to have something permanent,” Whaley said.

MORE: Oregon District memorials moved, city plans permanent tribute

Daytonians can donate toward the costs of the permanent memorial on the Dayton Foundation website or by check to the fund by using #8375.

Whaley didn’t have a timeline for when the memorial might be in place. She said that she’s talked with other mayors in cities that have had mass shootings. Those mayors told her this would be a long process.

“People are grieving in different ranges. This will take a while, especially as we rely on feedback from victims and survivors,” Whaley said. “We want to make sure we don’t make a decision so fast that they don’t get to have any say in this process.”

In the early hours of Aug. 4, gunman Connor Betts opened fire on East Fifth Street, injuring 26 and killing Lois Oglesby, Megan Betts, Nicholas Cumer, Logan Turner, Thomas McNichols, Derrick Fudge, Monica Brickhouse, Saeed Saleh and Beatrice Warren-Curtis.

Earlier this month, Whaley said there were plans to create a permanent memorial to the victims.

There was some controversy over moving the temporary memorials, as the woman who was caring for the memorials was arrested on Aug. 12. She was reportedly yelling at anyone who came too close to the memorial. The prosecutor declined to approve charges of disorderly conduct against her.

Some were surprised that the memorials were moved on Wednesday by city staff.

When the candles, flowers and signs were moved from the memorial, they were taken to Dayton History to be preserved.

MORE: Memorials moved, woman caring for them won’t be charged following arrest

Aside from Whaley, the committee members include Sandy Gudorf, with the Downtown Dayton Partnership; Sandy Hunt, with the Victim Witness Division of the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office; Rob Jones, Oregon District resident and employee at Ferncliff Cemetery; Chris Kershner, with the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce; Dan “Wiley” Lafferty, owner of Wiley’s Comedy Joint in the Oregon District; Michelle Lovely with the Dayton Foundation; Chris Shaw, Dayton City Commissioner; Natalie Skilliter, co-owner of Corner Kitchen in the Oregon District and treasurer of the Oregon District Business Association; Austin Smith, owner of Ned Peppers and Hole in the Wall; and Mike Parks with the Dayton Foundation.