Veterans across Oregon will work together to raise the necessary funds to place and maintain the markers for the three highways newly designated as Veterans Memorial Highways and the Purple Heart Trail. When the project is completed, Oregon will have named highways honoring the vets who served in the nation’s five major wars, beginning with World War I. The veterans have already raised the funds and placed 34 markers honoring those who served in World War II (US Hwy 97) and the Vietnam War (I-84). Now they will raise about $40,000 for markers to honor vets of World War I (Hwy 395), the Korean War (I-5), and the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq Wars (US Hwy 101). I-5 will also become a Purple Heart Trail, completing the trail that stretches from southern California to northern Washington.
“Veterans groups will all get together and find the money,” said Dick Tobiason, the vet who first approached Rep. John Huffman to ask him to sponsor a bill that would create Veterans Memorial Highways. “They can find the money amongst themselves or they can go ask county commissioners or ask businesses or find individuals or they can have spaghetti feeds, steak fries—whatever they want.”
Tobiason said there is a possibility that they might be able to take advantage of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department grant fund, which would pay 80% of the cost. Details have yet to be worked out.
Once the necessary funds are raised, ODOT will make and install the signs.