World War II Battleship Memorial Benefits from Enhancements improving Accessibility for All
Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) has completed a project to enhance access to the USS Oregon Memorial in PP&R’s Waterfront Park. The mast of the historic battleship USS Oregon is showcased in this popular and visible park to commemorate those who served during World War II. PP&R has improved access to and throughout the memorial with an ADA-accessible ramp and walkways, which can be easily used by people in wheelchairs and therefore increase access for visitors with limited mobility.
“Without the ramp and accessibility improvements that have been made to the USS Oregon memorial, I was restricted to seeing it from a distance,” says Travis Herseim, an Army veteran. “That forced me to be one of the outside looking in people. Now I - and any other individuals with disabilities - can get right up to the memorial and be part of regular society. Being included in the things that society takes for granted means a lot to those who can’t take movement and mobility for granted anymore.”
The Portland Commission on Disability asked Commissioner Amanda Fritz to address the accessibility issues at the memorial when she was assigned to lead PP&R in June. “It was highly meaningful to me that one of my first actions as Parks Commissioner carried on my previous work with the Office of Equity and Human Rights and the Commission on Disability,” said Commissioner Fritz.
“We are thankful for Commissioner Fritz’s strong support for this project and pleased with the speed and attention given to this project by the Parks Bureau,” said Joe VanderVeer, Chair of the Commission on Disability. “We appreciate the participation of the veteran community, as well, in moving this project forward.”
The project work includes an ADA-accessible ramp and walkways on the north and south sides of the memorial, as well as some new landscaping features. Additional signage to improve accessibility for people experiencing visual disabilities will be added before the project is deemed complete. The USS Oregon Memorial is located inPortlandParks & RecreationWaterfrontParkbetween SW Pine and Oak.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the re-opening of the improved memorial will be held at the site on Veterans Day, Monday November 11, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. Veterans and members of the Portland Commission on Disability will participate, along with Commissioner Fritz.
History of the Memorial
The Battleship Oregon Memorial was built in 1956 to honor WW II veterans, and the 1893 ship that was nicknamed 'the Bulldog of the United States Navy' and fought in many famous battles before it was retired from service.
On July 4, 1976, a time capsule was sealed in the base of the memorial. The time capsule is to be opened July 5, 2076