(KMTR) – A community-led roadside memorial that sprung up after the death of Eugene Police Officer Chris Kilcullen is now a memory as tributes to the fallen Officer move in a new direction.
Sunday, December 11th, 2011, around 12 volunteers collected the pieces from the memorial at 52nd Street and Highway 126 in Springfield. The removal came at the request of the Kilcullen family.
Following the removal, volunteers left behind one single American flag at the site. Although the memorial is nearly gone, family and friends say Officer Kilcullen’s memory will continue to live on in other ways.
“It’s been overwhelming, for all of us, we just really appreciate the fact that so much of the community has been supportive,” said John Kilcullen, Chris Kilcullen’s father.
Piece by piece, the memorial was hand-built by the community with flowers, flags, signs, momentos and gifts.
“We just, really appreciate the fact that so much of the community has been supportive,” said Randy Lodge, Chris Kilcullen’s step-father.
What helped lift one family up, has now come down.
“We really want to thank the community in that respect,” said Lodge.
While the memorial has faded away, a new honor has risen.
“Now that the highway signs are up, it's fitting that the memorial be laid to rest,” said Lodge.
Friends and family say even with the largest memorial gone, respect remains.
“Just remember Chris, every time you drive by one of the signs, on 126 and 105, we appreciate it, and remember that he just might be out there with radar, to get you some way,” chuckled John Kilcullen.
Students at Willamette High School, Officer Kilcullen’s alma-mater, are now working on another permanent memorial project. Monday, December 12th, 2011, students at the school will begin outlining the design of the memorial garden that will be built on the school’s grounds.