OREGON CITY, Ore. -- They built it to hold 500 names. They thought that was plenty. They thought it would last for “many years.”
It lasted for two.
Now, the wall designed to display and memorialize names of homicide victims in Oregon and Washington is full, and the wait list is growing by the day.
Members of the Oregon chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, a national support group for people who have lost a family member to violent crimes, are scrambling to raise money.
Their goal is to triple the marble wall's size, making room for 1,500 names.
Mary Elledge says they don’t want to turn a single name or a single grieving family away.
“One reason we built the memorial, was that we would have a place to gather together,” said Elledge, whose son Rob was bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat 30 years ago. The family friend who did it, she says, remains in prison.
“Right after it happens, you suffer from PTSD, the symptoms of it, because the scenario plays over in your mind, and when people have a safe place to talk to people where they’re not judged, it helps them, and I think that’s really important,” she said.
Elledge and other members need roughly $100,000 to expand their memorial, which sits in Oregon City's Mountain View Cemetery. As of Thursday afternoon, they were about halfway to their goal.
They’ve set up an online campaign, hoping to raise the rest.
They hope to break ground on the addition by September 23, an annual day of remembrance for homicide victims.