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Monday, June 9, 2008

Who cares? It's just some dumb memorial

Apparently more than one of our readers noticed that the Navy chopped up and trampled on the Japanese internment memorial garden in Waterfront Park to stage a security zone and a tour entrance for its Rose Festival ships. In response to our blog post of this morning on the subject, a reader sends along some photos of what the memorial looked like:

We tend to agree with the sentiments expressed by a few readers: If the Navy, the festival, and the city can't do better than this with respect to our monuments and memorials, maybe the ships ought to stay at sea.

Comments (37)

The fence around the internment memorial speaks volumes. We haven't learned much in the last 60 years.

The Navy jumped the shark for me a few years back when i was taking the Max across the river and noticed two fully geared-up soldiers patrolling around the fenced off waterfront with huge machine guns.

I wrote Blumenauer about it, and he actually wrote me back a month later saying, basically, take it up with the Rose Festival Committee, I can't do anything about it.

Egad, that's rough. Seems like one of Portland's biggest visitor-attracting events is precisely the time people might most be interested to visit a memorial like this. What a slap in the face.

How do I contact this committee of which you speak?

Security is a necessary component of every U.S. Navy public affairs event, just like port-a-potties are a necessary component of Obama's political rallies.

I don't believe the U.S. Navy intended to disrespect Japanese-Americans any more than Obama intended to disrespect fallen police officers.

As for being offended by a uniformed sailor carrying a machine gun: that's what sentries do. You might as well be frightened by a police officer wearing a sidearm.

You can look up the festival organization on-line.

This was a stupid thing for them to do, but let's not overlook the fact that people make mistakes. Maybe they just need it brought to their attention.

As for the Navy being here, those are kids who have volunteered to serve our country. Many of them don't have a ton of options and being a part of the Navy will greatly improve their lives. They like to come into town once a year and get some shore leave and enjoy themselves.

I don't think we have to be so lefty here that we dis servicepeople. Very few people clapped or showed gratitude when their float passed in the parade. I was embarrassed for my community.

Lyle:How huge were those machine guns, were they 50 calibers? Did you wet your pants? Grow up.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall you mentioning the Porta Potties which were placed on the police memorial at the Obama event last month. Both are equally trivial mistakes which, I hope, won't be made twice.

And what shows up next in the RSS reader? This. I'm an idiot. Please strike the previous comment from the record.

"Lyle:How huge were those machine guns, were they 50 calibers? Did you wet your pants? Grow up."

Good one. Not that anything short of getting a massive erection would be a satisfactory response for you.

And growing up? Let's see, who's the one here throwing around insults based off someone expressing an OPINION that we shouldn't have military walking around with machine guns for no good reason. And if you're gonna say there is a good reason, and it's needed, why park the ships here in the first place?

Lyle - What is so surprising, or offensive about "guys with machineguns" guarding U.S. warships?? Ever heard of the U.S.S. Cole?? If you are distrubed by the sight of "guys with machineguns", I would suggest you steer a wide bearth from all U.S. military property, even when it's docked downtown.

Just because the Navy comes upstream to spawn every year doesn't mean we need to accomodate them in every way.

Frank...Did you look under your bed this morning? Make sure you check for terrorists. They're everywhere and they're out to get YOU.

Godfry, do you mean "in every way" or "in ANY way?" You make it sound like the U.S. Navy intentionally asked to place themselves in the middle of a memorial just to insult or disrespect the citizens. Seeing how the City Parks or Rose Fest people must have been involved or aware, does your rule apply to them as well?

This is how the term "ugly American" came into being. This is why most of the world has had enough of us.

And if it wasn't for this blog, no one would have said anything. That's really sad.

Seems here everyone's tryin' to put the "turd" in the wrong pocket. Strikes me that Parks Dept and/or RF Assn should specify and enforce how setup of anything is implemented....tents/porta-potties/hotdog stands....whatever....maintain/assure proper respect for memorials etc.

The so-called "city that works" wasn't workin' it seems...just sayin' what else is new?

Jack, if we are going to be concerned about the disrespect towards the Japanese Memorial, then where is the outrage of allowing the urinating, crapping, open use of drugs, public camping, open sexual intercourse, and all the rest that our city commissioners allow at the memorial? I've seen it all as I bike through there frequently.

On bike tours I lead, I tell people to "plug their nose". I biked through there on Saturday and was less offended (after your blog mentioned it) by the security required by the Navy's presence, than what I routinely see and smell. I saw many people enjoying the day as they waited in lines for over two hours to see the ships and honoring our men and women who serve.

"Jack, if we are going to be concerned about the disrespect towards the Japanese Memorial, then where is the outrage of allowing the urinating, crapping, open use of drugs, public camping, open sexual intercourse, and all the rest that our city commissioners allow at the memorial?"

That's the definition of freedom for liberals.

Mike -

I place the onus directly upon the Parks Bureau. They should have made it clear to the RF Asses that such should not be done and maybe even recommend how it should be done.

I'd bet that the Navy did everything that they were told. That's the way they are trained. I'll bet somebody setting it up was asking themselves, "WTF?" but probably shrugged and didn't bother to ask or comment.

Face it, Tre Arrow is a more likely hero than the U.S. Navy in the P.R.P.

How about if we rebadged them the "U.S. Saltwater Protection Administration". That has a melancholy ring to it don't you think?

Oh yes, the Navy is going to listen to officials at the Parks Department, or even the Rose Festival Association.

If you believe that, I gotta bridge in Florida to sell you.

I believe the way it works, the Navy dictates their demands, and if these little weenie organizations don't jump head over heals to meet their demands, the visit it off.

So many years, so many awesome ships I toured as a kid as I walked up and down the waterfront. It's not the Waterfront Village that has gone downhill, it's the chance to get up close and personal with these incredible testaments of American pride that has stopped me from coming to see the ships, and stay for the rides.

I hope one day we can go back to the days of hosting a sailor or two, and wait with thousands lined up for blocks, if not miles, to tour OUR military ships.

If security is that big a deal, they ought to stay away. I'm surprised that Little Beirut tolerates the whole Uzi thing. I'm glad we got to enjoy the waterfront scene before they got here.

The police in Lake Oswego have armed themselves with Uzis for ... how many years? Anyone complaining?

Yeah, that's justified. You never know when a riot might break out on Country Club Drive.

Actually, they do need those for when Damon Stoudamire's alarm system is going off...

C'mon, Jack! "If security is that big a deal, they ought to stay away." Let's get rid of the airport, the Port of Portland, the courthouses, City Hall... Jeeze!

Normal practice is that Parks tells event where its potties go. However, if you were to suggest that the Bushies made political decision to tell Parks where to stick them...well, who would rush to dispute you?

Let's get rid of the airport, the Port of Portland, the courthouses, City Hall...

What are you, in your anonymous glory, talking about? I am saying that if the Navy has to gate off large sections of the park, trample monuments, block off large amounts of space in the river, and have dudes walking around with machine guns, just to have a few hundred of their guys visit the freakin' Portland, Oregon Rose Festival, then it isn't worth their coming here. None of that was done until the Bush Iraq vendetta started up.

"We are at war," remember? Maybe in "wartime" stuff like Rose Festival visits needs to be sacrificed. They should let those guys get back together with their families on a base in Hawaii, or somewhere like that, and spare Portland yet another round of security theater.

Don't tell anyone, but the Seals were offering up rides to people that were not screened for weapons, booze or political affiliations in their 11 meter RIBS. They picked us up at the dock by the old Newport Bay cafe. It was a fun ride and I met some very capable, sincere young men who I would think have been in a little more "action" than Barry Obama.

Somebody in the Navy security department missed the boat (pun intended) -- I doubt if it was a calculated decision.

As far as the security goes, I don't have a lot of experience with the Rose Festival security prior to 2004. My experience has been that I didn't think it was excessive. That said, I grew up on military bases (Air Force); the MPs have had automatics as long as I can remember.

Truth be told, I'm much more comfortable with the Navy MPs/sentries and whatever they are toting than, say, the LO folks with their Uzis.

I don't believe that the "wartime" is the only reason for the increased presence. It's across the board increase in security. The Border Patrol is gearing up with some heavy weapons in response to drugs and more violent border-jumping. The Coast Guard now has to do everything at gunpoint because the seas are getting more violent. Even security at Multnomah Courthouse has increased in the last two years. It's a symptom of a more violent world and, while I love to heap the blame on El Bushie Junior, I don't think its ALL a result of the WoT, Iraq, or whatever else.

have been in a little more "action" than Barry Obama.

Yeah, well, you get ready to sing "Hail to the Chief" to "Barry," because he's your new daddy.

I actually went down with intent to visit and take a look-see, but when I saw what had been done to this memorial, I changed my mind and walked away...totally PO'ed at the stupid rightwing nutjobbers that were behind this childish act one would expect from Lars and his crowd or the dumb Ditto Heads of Rush Limbaugh's ilk. We are suppose to be on the cusp of a sea change in attitudes and I say it ain't going to happen till WE THE PEEPS start taking names and stomping a$$es of those simple- tons like these that did this evil act. Got names? I got a good pair of stomping boots ((hell, if the PoPo can stomp a man to death and get away with it, then WE THE PEEPS ought to be able to stomp a few a$$s and get away with quote their mythical hero..."let's roll!"))

I too am sorry about the memorial being trampled, but it seems like it was a mistake that could have been avoided had the event organzier or Parks Dept made other arrangements/locations for docking the ship. I don't think the Navy is to blame. It baffles me that some are so upset about the presence of armed guards. The fact is that "machineguns" are everywhere in Portland - most often stowed in the trunks of police patrol cars. Are you offended by the presence of the police, knowing they have "machineguns" in their cars?

Since I didn't get to Portland for the Rose Fest, I am curious about something in the photo. Did people have to actually walk through this memorial to get to the ships? If they did, maybe they took a little time while in line to reflect on the interment of the Japanese Americans in WWII. Maybe they even had the opportunity to explain to their children what happened.

Like the police memorial fiasco lay this right at the feet of the parks crew and CoP and Port of Portland.

I gaurantee you the Navy put out the security measures that were going to be taken when they docked. But, I also guarantee you they didn't pick where they were going to dock. Once the docking spot was picked for them they carried out their security plan.

The guys doing the setup more then likely saw what would happen but shrugged it off by saying this is where we were told to put it. If they made waves it would of slowed down the whole process which delays their shore leave.

Most of the people doing the setup were more then likey 18-20 yrs old. At that age the most important thing on your mind is going and having fun.

Mr. Bogdanski is right (as in correct): Portland is no place for the Navy or any military. Replace the ships with barges for vendors of beer and corn dogs, thus expanding the "Fun Center" and increasing revenue. Keep your Portland weird!

You can look up the festival organization on-line.

Actually, I can't -- that's why I asked. isn't much help in either delineating who is responsible for this sort of decision (it doesn't mention a "Rose Festival Committee") or providing contact info for staff or board.

This was a stupid thing for them to do, but let's not overlook the fact that people make mistakes. Maybe they just need it brought to their attention.

As for the Navy being here, those are kids who have volunteered to serve our country. Many of them don't have a ton of options and being a part of the Navy will greatly improve their lives. They like to come into town once a year and get some shore leave and enjoy themselves.

Wow, you're making a lot of assumptions about what I (or anybody else) would say. Your assumptions are wrong, by the way.

The paragraph "As for the Navy..." above should be italicized, that's part of what I was quoting.

Jeff, the Japanese Memorial is a small area extending from Naito Parkway UP TO the public walk along the seawall (150 ft), and extending less than one block (200 ft) north to south. The hole area was not fenced off except there were off-set concrete barriers to prevent vehicle intrusion past the main entry plaza to the ships which had a large tent for the entrance process. These two barriers are similar to bullards that are placed around our main public buildings.

With the large crowds waiting to board the ships and just viewing the ships, crowds did spew onto the berms and plaza of the memorial. The disrespect could be considered even less than what occurs daily with the transients camping and what else, even beyond this area.

I think that if Bill Naito (the father of the memorial) was alive, he would have asked that the entrance tent be slightly downsized and moved ten ft to the seawall. He then would have spoken to the Navy if the chainlink fence perimeter could be moved slightly to the seawall and if the Navy had regs and good reasons for the placement, he would understand. Then he would ask the Parks Department for a temporary display board showing the history of how the memorial came into existence, and more acknowledgment of Murase, and the design process. Then he would of been pleased because the general public which seldom comes to the north end could experience this fine memorial.

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