At the end of 2019, Blake Boyles with the City of North Plains, OR contacted Kittelson’s Principal Engineer Tony Roos to see if the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) would write a letter of support for a funding request to Oregon State Parks for a new Veteran’s Park the City was going to build. Tony has been involved with SAME for 11 years and served as President of the Portland Post in 2019.
The park was to be dedicated to Vern Galaway, a Marine Combat Engineer who served on the Pacific Islands in World War II. Vern was assigned to the 18th Marine Combat Engineers. For 46 hours, the Engineers of the 18th led the way onto the island of Tarawa, in the Gilbert Islands, in clearing the beaches of entrenched fortifications and obstacles intended to inflict damage and injury to American soldiers. Vern’s division received the Presidential Unit Citation for outstanding performance in combat. Vern, who was a resident of North Plains, passed away in 2005.
When Tony received the request to write a letter of support, his instinct was to not only accept, but also do more to support the park’s planning and construction.
“As a Combat Engineer myself, this Veterans park, honoring a fellow engineer, rang very close to my heart,” said Tony. “Our SAME membership rallied to go beyond the letter writing to actually design the park for the City.”
Four firms in total collaborated pro-bono on the project: Kittelson with site design, Geotechnical Resources, Inc. (GRI) with Geotechnical & Pervious Pavement Design, 3J with Stormwater design, and Otak handling a survey. Tony personally donated more than 100 hours to manage the project.
The park features a 100′ tall flagpole surrounded by tribute blocks for each branch of the military (Army, Navy, Marine, Airforce, Coast Guard) and POW/MIA. There is a dedicated space for a piece of military history on the site, pending a requisition request from the Department of the Defense. The site also features the City’s first electric car charging stations, first pervious pavement parking lot, and a bicycle repair facility.
Here is a rendering of the project created by Kittelson’s Steve Rhyne:
The North Plains Veterans Memorial Park opened on Veteran’s Day in 2020. Kittelson thanks the Veterans of the SAME Portland Post for spearheading this meaningful project, and we extend our deep gratitude to Veterans everywhere.