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Published: Friday, August 09, 2019 @ 1:35 PM
Updated: Friday, August 09, 2019 @ 4:36 PM
By: Bonnie Meibers
— A woman who has been taking care of memorials to the victims of the Oregon District mass shooting says she was told the memorials were going to be moved, but the mayor said they will stay for now.
The memorials sit between the doors of Ned Peppers Bar and Hole in the Wall on East Fifth Street.
Annette Gibson-Strong said she was told by the owner of the bars this morning that the city wanted the memorials moved.
“This is disrespectful to the families,” Gibson-Strong said. “These babies aren’t even buried yet. After all this is over, all of this belongs to the loved ones.”
An employee at Ned Peppers said the bar had no comment. The city did not issue an order to remove the memorials, said Melissa Leysath, a spokeswoman for the city.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley released a statement on Twitter that said, “The city and the Business Association are committed to keeping (the memorials) in place until after all of the memorial services for the victims are concluded. We recognize this is an important place for our community to come together and grieve.”
Whaley also said there is a group working on plans for a permanent memorial.
Natalie Skilliter, treasurer of the Oregon District Business Association and co-owner of Corner Kitchen, said she heard discussion about moving the memorial, but said there are no plans to move it at this time.
Gibson-Strong sat down in front of the memorial and said she is calling on Daytonians to “come and stand” with her against moving the memorials. Gibson-Strong has been taking care of the memorials daily, cleaning the area around them and making sure all candles are lit at night.