Should Dead Indian Memorial road’s name be changed?

Ashland, Ore. — The Jackson County Commissioners are seeking public comment on whether the name of ‘Dead Indian Memorial road’ in Ashland should be changed or not. After weeks of complaints, along with quiet acts of protest, the Commissioners are taking up the issue.

Stanley ‘Toby’ Tobiasson has lived at the corner of Dead Indian Memorial road for quite some time.

“Since 1951,” Tobiasson said. “May 15th, we landed here.”

Back then, it was called something different.

“The Dead Indian road,” Tobiasson said.

The word ‘memorial’ was added more than 20 years ago. But recently, it’s been brought to the attention of Jackson County Commissioner Bob Strosser that some want the name changed again.

“It’s been periodic in the last number of months, I mean, I’d say for you know, the last six or seven months,” Strosser said. “And it became even more evident when they were, you know, a small group of people, or what you know, is probably a small group of people who decided to take matters into their own hands, and paint over the signs.”

Originally, the road was named after a historical event. According to an article written by Linda Lewis Miller, a group of two or three Shasta Indians stole horses from a ranch, and took them up into the hills. They were killed by the Klamath Indians, who then took the horses. All of this transpired in the 1800’s.

NBC5 News spoke with three different residents, two who had lived on the road for 30 years. They didn’t want to go on camera, but said the name should stay, and changing it would be disrespectful to the area’s history.

Commissioner Strosser spoke with them as well.

“He basically said, you know, this was all agreed to,” Strosser said. “And including the Indians back in 1983, so why do you want to change it now?”

In October, both sides will have their chance to make a point, when Commissioners host a public meeting.

“What we’re hoping to accomplish is to get a sense of whether this is something we should proceed with or not, and we thought than rather than just do it, that it would be most appropriate that we reach out to the public and especially those people who actually live on the road,” Strosser said.

The public meeting is set for October 11, 2017 in the Jackson County Courthouse auditorium.
It starts at 5:30 p.m.

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