Over 700 people have signed a petition seeking to name Beersheba Street Bridge after fallen soldier Jeremy Brown.
Local resident Angela Cunningham is spearheading the petition drive because she believes it’s a fitting way to honor Spc. Brown.
“I’ve never protested anything before or started a petition before, but I feel this is something we need to do,” said Cunningham, whose daughter was friends with Brown and is helping with the petition drive. “Everybody I’ve talked to is in favor of this, but nothing seems to be getting done. I’m trying to bring it back to everyone’s attention.”
Spc. Brown was killed in Afghanistan in May 2010. He was on foot patrol when he came upon enemy fire.
Beersheba Street Bridge is currently under construction and will look much like Westwood Bridge when it’s complete. After several delays in moving utilities, the new completion date is this May.
Cunningham says naming the bridge after Spc. Brown would be fitting because he grew up in Mt. Leo and was frequently around that area.
“As a kid he would run around that river bank and people would always see him walking across the bridge,” said Cunningham, who added the petition drive has gone better than expected. “Our goal was 300 signatures, then it was 500. Now we’re hoping to get 1,000.”
Cunningham says she plans to present the petition to McMinnville’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
Since the bridge is located inside the city limits, city government is in charge of naming the bridge, if it gets named at all.
“I think it would be befitting to honor a fallen soldier, especially Jeremy, because he did live in that neighborhood and he did cross that bridge,” said Alderman Jimmy Haley, who has one of seven votes on the board.
Haley says he’s in favor of naming the bridge after Brown, but can’t speak for the other elected officials.
“I’m not sure what the city’s view on this will be,” said Haley. “It’s been something that’s been tossed around for almost a year.”
In recent discussions about naming Beersheba Street Bridge, some city officials expressed reluctance about naming the bridge for one person. It was suggested instead to name the bridge after a group of people, such as Veterans Bridge for example.