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Mayor wants Dayton to consider permanent memorial to shooting victims

Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2019 @ 6:13 PM


            Media workers gathered around the entrance to Ned Peppers in the Oregon District for a press conference with Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley last week. Whaley is proposing a permanent memorial for the victims of the mass shooting Aug. 4. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Media workers gathered around the entrance to Ned Peppers in the Oregon District for a press conference with Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley last week. Whaley is proposing a permanent memorial for the victims of the mass shooting Aug. 4. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said next week she plans to start the process of creating permanent memorial to the victims of the Aug. 4 mass murder in the Oregon District.

“There’s lots of opportunities, lots of places along the district,” Whaley said. “We’ve even had a person come forward and offer land in the district for it.”

Whaley said she hopes to form a committee that brings together victim advocates, members of the business and neighborhood associations and people interested in helping in a big way to create some type of shrine.

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“My job is to convene the conversation and let them decide how they want to be remembered, both from the victims’ families but also the area of the Oregon District and move the process forward,” Whaley said.

The process must be thoughtful and hopefully the committee can reach a consensus that creates a memorial that is beautiful and powerful, Whaley said.

The memorial hopefully will assure that the community never forgets the people lost in the Aug. 4 massacre as well as the terribly tragic event that happened in the Oregon District, Whaley said.

Multiple people have offered some of their land in the area for a memorial, and there has been some interest to create sidewalk inlays, said Natalie Skilliter, owner of Corner Kitchen and treasurer of the Oregon District Business Association.

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“I think there are lots of options and lots of generous folks coming out and offering options for where it would go,” she said. “But we haven’t even begun to narrow that down in any way.”

Sidewalk inlays are like murals in the sidewalk that can be made of stones, mosaics, bricks and other decorative materials.

The top priority is to make sure the victims are remembered appropriately and meaningfully and victims’ families get to provide input, Skilliter said.

“We want to take our time to be very deliberate about what this looks like and where it is,” she said.

The temporary memorial has meant a lot to victims’ loved ones, survivors, Oregon District workers and residents and other community members who have visited the district to pay their respects, she said.

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“I don’t think that’s going to go away anytime soon,” she said. “People are still mourning and they are still coming down to the memorial.”

This week, memorials featuring crosses, flowers, candles and signs that were in front of Hole in the Wall and Ned Peppers bars were consolidated.

Dead flowers have been removed from the display, which has been moved to the front of Ned Peppers.