CLARK COUNTY, Wash. -- A local group that celebrates Confederate history says it’s worried about vandals damaging a private park they own and operate in Clark County.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) is a heritage organization whose members have ancestral ties to Confederate soldiers. Since 2007, the group has maintained Jefferson Davis Park off of Interstate 5 near Ridgefield.
The park, named in honor of the former president of the Confederate States of America, came about as the result of efforts to find a new home for a pair of old markers from Highway 99 that bore Davis’ name. The small park contains the markers, along with a pair of Confederate-style flags.
But given the controversy over Confederate symbols and violent clashes in Charlottesville, the group is concerned about potential vandalism at Jefferson Davis Park.
“To that end, we’re making provisions to ensure that the park is guarded and will be guarded by people who know what they’re doing,” said John Sigmon, the commander for the Pacific Northwest Division of SCV.
Sigmon said that there had been instances of vandalism at the park in previous years, but didn’t give specific examples.
As for the events in Charlottesville, Sigmon called the violence “disgraceful on both sides.” Sigmon added that SCV is anti-racist and doesn’t allow racism within its membership. SCV is also non-political, Sigmon said.
Not everyone is impressed with the group’s park and flags, though.
“I really think it’s an eyesore, and I don’t think it belongs there,” said a neighbor named Mark. “What I think they really ought to do is build a wall here on the freeway, so that people driving by don’t have to look at it.”
“Well, I think that it’s part of history and I don’t have an opinion one way or another of it,” said John Fleetwood, who lives directly behind the park. “I don’t understand why it’s out here. Because as far as I know in the Northwest, we didn’t have any confederate armies running around here."
Fleetwood noted that the park was on private land and said that SCV members have been friendly neighbors.
“It’s part of our history as a country,” said Sigmon in regards to the criticism. “It’s part of the good, the bad, and the ugly. We call it good, they call it ugly. Oh well.”