Chapter 265 Oregon Laws 2009
Relating to historic highways.
Whereas during World War II U.S. Highway 97 served eight critical World War II military training sites, including Camp Abbot, along its entire length in Oregon from Biggs Junction to Klamath Falls; and
Whereas World War II military training sites at Rufus, Madras, Redmond, Prineville, Bend, Sunriver and Klamath Falls on U.S. 97 are not marked by any signs to inform the local population and traveling public of the World War II sites and the vital role U.S. 97 played during World War II; and
Whereas the “Oregon Maneuver,” the largest military training exercise in the Pacific Northwest during World War II, involving more than 100,000 troops, occurred in six counties served by U.S. 97; and
Whereas 10,400 soldiers from the counties served by U.S. 97 served our nation during World War II; and
Whereas 261 World War II veterans from the counties served by U.S. 97 made the supreme sacrifice during World War II; and
Whereas after World War II, U.S. 97 continued its role as the major north-south route serving the region east of the Cascades and adjacent states; and
Whereas Blue Star Memorial Highway signs installed on U.S. 97 after World War II honor all members of the Armed Forces who have defended this country; and
Whereas Blue Star Memorial Highway signs installed on U.S. 97 do not honor highways and nearby historic World War II military activities; and
Whereas no other highway in Oregon has a bridge named to honor World War II pilot Rex T. Barber, who shot down Admiral Yamamoto, the architect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941; and
Whereas no other highway in Oregon serves an active military and civilian airfield named to honor a World War II recipient of the Medal of Honor, Lt. David R. Kingsley; and
Whereas U.S. 97 serves Bly, a nearby location that experienced the only fatal casualties in the mainland United States caused by an enemy of the United States of America during World War II; and
Whereas no Oregon highway has been designated to honor regional World War II veterans or inform the public of the historic role a highway played during World War II; and
Whereas “World War II Veterans Historic Highway” signs that also include reference to local World War II facilities and dates of operation will help the public locate nearby facilities and museums displaying local World War II history and more fully appreciate the continuing impact of U.S. 97 on their communities; and
Whereas “World War II Veterans Historic Highway” as an honorary designation does not change the existing official names of U.S. 97, “The Dalles-California Highway” and “Blue Star Memorial Highway”; and
Whereas there are no “The Dalles-California Highway” signs on U.S. 97; and
Whereas Oregon named I-205 near Portland both a Blue Star Memorial Highway and Veterans Memorial Highway; and
Whereas Oregon named State Route 62 “Veterans Memorial Highway”; and
Whereas veterans and other groups located along U.S. 97 have offered to pay for installing and maintaining 14 “World War II Veterans Historic Highway” signs to be installed near World War II military facilities on U.S. 97 and Oregon Route 126 near Prineville as honorary designations; now, therefore,
Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:
SECTION 1. Section 2 of this 2009 Act is added to and made a part of ORS chapter 366.
SECTION 2. (1)(a) The portion of U.S. Highway 97, known as the Dalles-California Highway, crossing the State of Oregon, beginning at the California state line and ending at the Washington state line, shall also be known as the World War II Veterans Historic Highway.
(b) The portion of State Highway No. 126 from U.S. 97 to Prineville-Crook County Airport shall be known as the World War II Veterans Historic Highway.
(2) The Department of Transportation shall place and maintain suitable markers along the highways described in this section indicating the designation of each highway as the World War II Veterans Historic Highway and indicating proximity to local World War II military sites.
(3)(a) The department may accept moneys from and may enter into agreements with veterans groups to create, install and maintain the markers.
(b) The department may not use public funds for the installation and maintenance of the markers.
Approved by the Governor June 16, 2009
Filed in the office of Secretary of State June 16, 2009
Effective date January 1, 2010