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Oregon District Mass Shooting Memorial Committee Selected

April Laissle

The city of Dayton has announced the members of a new committee tasked with helping to oversee the location and design for a permanent memorial to the victims of the Oregon District shooting rampage, which killed nine people and injured more than 30 others in a matter of seconds outside the Ned Peppers bar.

The committee includes the mayor herself, along with representatives from the Dayton business community, the Dayton Foundation, Ned Peppers bar, and the Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office, Victim Witness Division, and others.

As the memorial committee's process moves forward, the city is promising to include input from victims' families and survivors, people who live and work in the Oregon District, and the broader community.

City officials say they've already sought some advice from officials in other cities that have experienced similar mass shootings, and the new committee is expected to continue to consult with other cities as well as research best practices for creating permanent memorials.

Mayor Nan Whaley says establishing a permanent memorial is important at this time of trauma for many people across the city. There is no fixed timeline for the process.

“A lot of the families are still just processing this. And so while the community is you know let's go let's go let's go. We are going to be very cognizant of the family's wishes through this process,” Whaley says.

"This memorial will become a very important site for grieving and remembrance." 

To help pay for the memorial, the city established a new fund at the Dayton Foundation to help raise money for a permanent memorial. To contribute, visit the Dayton Foundation, fund #8375, or send a donation by mail to The Dayton Foundation, 1401 S. Main St., Suite 100, Dayton OH, 45409.

A location for the memorial has not yet been selected.

The permanent memorial would include some items from the temporary makeshift memorial that for weeks stood outside Ned Peppers’ bar where the shooting took place.

The city has already moved many items from that temporary site to Dayton History for safekeeping.

A team of specialists is working to dry out and preserve the items, which included handwritten cards and letters, flowers, candles, wooden crosses bearing the names of the dead, and teddybears.

Whaley says city officials determined it was necessary to move the items from the sidewalk in front of Ned Peppers to protect them from further weather-related damage and preserve them for potential inclusion in the future permanent memorial.

"It just being out here at night, every night," she says,  we wanted to make sure that we archived this traumatic part of history of Dayton."

The city urges anyone who wants to contribute ideas for the memorial or donate art to contact Darius Beckham at darius.beckham@daytonohio.gov or 937-333-3659.

The committee members are:

Sandy Gudorf, Downtown Dayton Partnership

Sandy Hunt, Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office, Victim Witness Division

Rob Jones, Ferncliff Cemetery and Oregon District resident

Chris Kershner, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

Dan "Wiley" Lafferty, Oregon District business owner

Michelle Lovely, Dayton Foundation

City Commissioner Chris Shaw

Natalie Skilliter, Corner Kitchen and Oregon District Business Association

Austin Smith, Ned Peppers and Hole in the Wall

Mike Parks, Dayton Foundation

Mayor Nan Whaley

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Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding Americainitiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.