OREGON CITY, Ore. -- A new memorial for murdered children stands at the Mountain View Cemetery in Oregon City. The Parents of Murdered Children wall holds 400 names.
Mary Elledge's son, Rob is one of them. He died 27 years ago, murdered by his best friend.
“I know he's been dead for all these years, but it still touches your heart,” she said standing next to Rob's name.
She joined the Parents of Murdered Children and found a community that understood.
“It gets softer. You never, you always know that they’re gone. You always miss them. But the pain isn’t as intense as in the beginning. You never could have stood it like that,” she said.
For the last 25 years, Mary has headed the Portland chapter. She and many of the others gathered for the dedication of the wall and memorial. Mary’s proud of the results.
“We wanted it to be very special. It’s the only one in the Northwest so we wanted it to be a place people wanted to come see. And that it would bring comfort and solace,” she said.
It has for many, including the young woman wearing a pageant crown. Blayake Lord’s sash proclaims her Oregon’s Miss Collegiate. Her baby sister was killed 12 years ago.
“I wore my crown and banner because that's a memory that I wanted to share with her. Like, I wanted to get her to do pageants, that was something I wanted to share with her and it’s very sad that I can’t," Lord said.
Her sister Mandi likes the space too.
“It feels relieving to know there’s other people who know what we went through and I think it’s a beautiful way to memorialize the victims,” she said.
The wall holds messages of hope and comfort. Lori Walswick has read them. An apartment neighbor killed her son Eric last spring over loud music. She got the call while on vacation in Hawaii.
“That was hard. That was hard, yeah" she said.
The killer went to prison five months ago.
“It feels like Eric just died,” she said.
Now Lori struggles with a jumble of feelings and realities. It's why she's here.
“I think I’m supposed to go to his house and pick him up or call him over for dinner or whatever and we don’t have that anymore. So, yeah. Having this does help me get more grounded, knowing that he is gone and he will be remembered,” she said.