Don Porth, a retired, 28-year veteran of the Portland Fire Bureau, is on a mission. He wants to restore the David Campbell Memorial at SW 18th Ave. and Alder Street and erect a wall honoring 34 other Portland firefighters who lost their lives on active duty.
The large bell, used for nearly 40 years until 1913, reportedly could be heard as far away as Oregon City when it was used to alert fire crews.
According to Porth’s hand-drawn sketch, the memorial wall would be placed on western side of the triangle adjacent to SW 19th Ave. The names of those firefighters are currently located on the floor of the memorial below the now-unused fountain.
Porth also believes the revamped memorial should add additional interpretive elements. Indeed, given Campbell’s immense influence in Portland before his death, his history deserves fuller description.
In an era when Portlanders often seem not to care about history, one thinks of C.E.S. Wood’s words on the Skidmore Fountain late in the 19th Century: “Good citizens are the riches of the city.” True then; true now.
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