One Wallowa mother is honoring her late daughter by building a park in the City of Wallowa.
Audra Allen said in an email that the idea for the new Wallowa Memorial City Square began about one year ago.
Her daughter, Effie Burns, died in a car accident last year. Allen remembers a conversation she had with her daughter the week before the accident when Burns said Wallowa was not as cared for as it was when she was growing up. As a way to honor her daughter, Allen decided to do her best to make a space that people will enjoy in Wallowa.
“The vision is to incorporate a memorial observation display that will have individual names of loved ones who have passed and to honor their memories,” Allen wrote in an email. “There will also be an entertainment pad for musical venues and town gatherings.”
She estimates the project will cost more than $50,000.
The property Allen has been approved for is owned by the city, but it has been empty for quite some time, she said in an interview.
“It’s a piece of property with an old 1970 trailer that was left behind from the mill (that used to be here),” Allen said. “No businesses have been interested. The city said yes to me (to go ahead).”
She said she’s been working like “a crazy person” trying to turn the park she envisions into reality.
“I want to do something for everyone who has lost a loved one,” she said. “I want to make a gathering place for them.”
Wallowa is the first place people see when they drive into Wallowa County, she noted, saying, “We want to invite the visitors to stop and see what our little town has to offer.”
The park will have an area where people can buy a plaque to honor their loved ones. The cost per plaque is $40 and can be engraved with your loved one’s name.
Allen said fliers were mailed out to the community in early April to raise funds and gather donations. So far, she said, the response has been “heart-warming.”
The group of volunteers helping Allen with this project has been successful getting grant funding. To date, the group has raised about a quarter of the funds needed for the project. The Wildhorse Foundation gave more than $10,000 toward the memorial park.
On June 30, Allen’s group will hold the first official fundraising event. It will be a family friendly event called “Gig in the Park.” The event organizers said people can bring their own picnic dinner or they can purchase food at the event. There will be beer available for purchase and music will be provided.
The event will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 30 at Wallowa’s Evans Park.
For more information or to donate, call 541-398-2140.