Crash victim's family fights to save roadside memorials

Aug 7, 2009 Full story: KGW-TV Portland 7

There's a spot along NW West Union Road that has special meaning to the family and friends of Leo Brodsky and Jessica Elder.

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Jerre petersen

Portland, OR

#1 Aug 27, 2009
Imagine one day a fire marshal knocking at your door and the news he brings is that someone in your family was killed in an accident. We all have to face the death of someone close to us, itís inevitable. Itís how we deal with these matters that makes us who we are. What we learn from these experiences and what we are capable of giving back may also help others.

Imagine that someone tells you or your wife they removed your childís memorial that had been put up by hundreds or thousands of his or her friends because its a distraction. How would you feel?

Lives have changed and people are hurting over the deaths of Jessica Elder and Leo Brodsky. By North Plains not allowing a remembrance marker at the site of which they perished is not going to stop the flowers, notes of kindness, or other belongings left behind. It is how people grieve. People in a grieving process need a place to go where they can say goodbye, say hello, or say how sorry they are. They need a place to shed tears. This process is going to happen regardless of anyoneís decision to remove a cross or marker. The cross is symbolic of love and respect, but mostly remembrance. A cross means reconciliation. Although a cross may seem foolish to some, those who believe in Jesus Christ find the cross to reveal the power of God. I, for one, am a person who believes the instant these two lives ended on earth they began again with the power of God.

Whomever left the latest flowers at the site this past weekend may have wondered if they would be ticketed for littering. What a shame. To be more sincere, North Plains may actually have people afraid to mourn the deaths of these two lives because of the demeanor and actions it has shown and taken.

Regardless of all that has transpired since this tragedy, North Plains continues to host other memorial markers in itís city. Nowhere on record will anyone find a memorial marker in the City of North Plains being called a distraction that may cause an accident or it being un-wanted litter. The City of North Plains hasnít even offered a compromise. The decision made, as I recall from numerous articles, was Police Chief Scott Whiteheadís decision. A compromise might be as simple as a tree, a memorial stone or a smaller white cross, maybe even a flag pole with the names of Leo Brodsky and Jessica Elder being honored on the foundation. Is a tree litter or a distraction? Is a grave marker a distraction or litter? Is an American flag a distraction or litter? for whatever the reason, the families should be the ones making the decision. The families lost the most. These families lost two very special people that meant something to them, children they cared for and nurtured, respected and loved. Whatever it may be? For the sake of goodness have that memorial constructed and donít delay.

Two lives ended in North Plains, the tragedy has grown more painfully due to the fact of the uncaring, rude and un-professional treatment to the families and friends of Leo and Jessica since they died by the law official and management of North Plains.

Is this the type of recognition the City of North Plains and its tax paying citizens and businesses need? A city with no compassion?

Sincerely

Jerre Petersen
Tom

Hillsboro, OR

#2 Mar 6, 2010
This has to be the dumbest article I've ever read and Jerre your not to bright for writing it. Obviously you did no research and only took the side of the family. It's people like you that write trash without talking to the people involved. And poor Leo lets not forget the person who murdered a young girl because he was showing off and then killed her. Put the blame where it belongs. Road side crosses are stupid and not needed. You want to be close to that person that died then go to the cemetary not along the roadway with no shoulders in a 55 mile per hour zone you brainless idiot!!
Cherie

Oregon City, OR

#3 Jun 7, 2010
Actually, Jerre did research it, he knows the family involved. Leo, did not murder her. She was his fiances daughter and he was taking her for a ride, for the first time. Yes, he was speeding but the driver did not look.
Cherie

Oregon City, OR

#4 Jun 7, 2010
Tom wrote:
This has to be the dumbest article I've ever read and Jerre your not to bright for writing it. Obviously you did no research and only took the side of the family. It's people like you that write trash without talking to the people involved. And poor Leo lets not forget the person who murdered a young girl because he was showing off and then killed her. Put the blame where it belongs. Road side crosses are stupid and not needed. You want to be close to that person that died then go to the cemetery not along the roadway with no shoulders in a 55 mile per hour zone you brainless idiot!!
Who are you to say that he did no research?! He is a close family friend of those who perished. You are obviously someone who has never had someone you truly love die in such a manner. Every one grieves in their own way, some people need that marker to help them grieve, to help them overcome this sad event.
Jerre, has talked to those involved, Leo may have not been driving safely, but neither was the driver of the truck. He did not look both ways before pulling out. Both drivers are at fault, but why does that matter? It doesn't make the pain go away for any body involved.
Sadly this is my town

Issaquah, WA

#5 Sep 8, 2011
Tom u r ignorant. Or should I say sociopath? Have a little compassion. Or are u incapable? There are many many graveyards on the side of the road with lots of flowers balloons are u that easily distracted. Maybe a lil ADHD? The Chief is a meathead with power control issues he was probably just mad that no one asked his permission. None of these city officals have any oversight and do not like anyone going against them they will destroy ur life for the simple fact that they have the power to. Tom should someone in ur family die and the flowers u put there (if u even would) be replaced with a outhouse. I doesn't matter the circumstances surrounding the death. Its still a great sadness to family members and they have the right to grieve as they wish. I will not stop putting flowers there no matter how many tickets they give me. The speed is 45 and if they can have people cycle all along west union and not be a distraction than they can certainly have a cross. I will use caution and pay attention to the drivers when I put flowers there and they can do the same otherwise they shouldn't be in the road. Clearly u shouldn't be in society. I'm sure if it were a celebritys grave marker no one would say a word. Sickness is infecting this town. Someone please investigate these ordinary people with power control issues that run our town.

“Everyone knows that!!!”

Since: Jun 11

Tell me...Does it hurt much?

#6 Dec 1, 2011
Tear them down. They serve NO purpose at all. Theyíre ignorant and so are the people that place them there. I couldnít even begin to tell you how many I have run down myself just to see them removed. Theyíre absolutely unsightly and pointless. Nobody outside of the family has any emotion at all for what happened there so why should they be allowed to push their grief out there for all to see. Itís a private thing for the family involved and it should NEVER be placed on the roadside. Iíll tell you this, I have property on a main road and I have posted there a sign forbidding any memorials on my property. Iíll tell you something else, more than HALF of these dead people are dead because of THEIR OWN recklessness and they donít deserve any public compassion. In fact, weíre better off not having them driving on our roads taking the lives of innocent people into their own hands every time they get behind the wheel of a car. I will continue to do MY part in tearing down these ugly pointless and disgusting eyesores.
Me myself and I

Portland, OR

#7 Aug 3, 2012
This Tom guy has got to be the most undereducated person I have ever seen. What a classic moron! I guess everyone has an opinion, but some should just be kept to the person who has it.

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