Gresham Heroes Memorial targeted by vandals – again - KPTV - FOX 12

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Gresham Heroes Memorial targeted by vandals – again

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The rope cut on a flag pole at the Gresham Heroes Memorial. (KPTV) The rope cut on a flag pole at the Gresham Heroes Memorial. (KPTV)
The Gresham Heroes Memorial. (KPTV) The Gresham Heroes Memorial. (KPTV)
Flowers and an American flag sit at the Gresham Heroes Memorial. (KPTV) Flowers and an American flag sit at the Gresham Heroes Memorial. (KPTV)
GRESHAM, OR (KPTV) -

The Gresham Heroes Memorial is a place of honor, service and sacrifice – but it has also become a target for vandals.

The memorial, on the corner of Powell and Southeast Roberts Avenue near downtown Gresham, is taken care of by VFW Post 180.

Monday, when people gathered there for a Memorial Day event, they realized something was wrong.

“We went to change the flags and the ropes were cut,” said Navy veteran and VFW Post 180 member Tyler Marriott.

The ropes on six of the seven outer flags, honoring each branch of the military along with police and fire, were cut.  They’re not worth much. But the senseless act is now causing a big impact.

Without a pulley system, the flag poles may have to be taken down for repairs.

“It probably took literally two minutes to cut all the ropes off, and now for us to have to replace it, it’s going to be a lot of work,” Marriott said. “No telling how we’re even going to be able to get that accomplished, to be quite honest.”

The problem is, the ropes aren’t protected because vandals stole the lock plates off eight of the ten flag poles at the memorial last year.

Replacing them could cost up to $1,500 – money the VFW post doesn’t have.

“They’re pretty expensive so we hadn’t gotten around to replacing them, thinking, ‘Well, big deal,’” he explained. “Well, now we know what the big deal is.”

Marriott said vandalism has been a problem at the site for the last several years. It’s become a sleeping spot for the homeless, who he said leave trash – even human waste. Vandals have tagged the walls, and plaques families have paid for have come up missing.

“You pay for a plaque to memorialize somebody and then there’s no respect,” he said.

Even the plaque he bought for his own father, who served in WWII, is gone.

“It’s probably this one here,” he said, looking at a blank spot. “To me, he was a hero, so I bought him a plaque.”

The Gresham Heroes Memorial was dedicated in 2009 and honors not only the military and those who have passed, but anyone someone considers a hero in their own life.

Now, Marriott is hoping this latest act of vandalism will be the last.

“For me – this is a hero for somebody,” he said. “Every one of them.”

To learn more about the memorial, visit www.greshamherosmemorial.org. If you’d like to donate, you can reach VFW Post 180 on Facebook or via Heroes Memorial, PO Box 281, Gresham, Oregon 97030.

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