By Linda Cohen, March 14, 2017

We set out with a goal to plant 100 peace poles around the Rotary District 5100 in conjunction with District 5030.

In the end we placed 121 orders for peace poles to be planted from Salem to Vancouver, Washington, Hermiston and Hood River Oregon to McMinnville.

What we learned…

For the most part Rotary clubs seemed to have a reasonably easy time finding locations to plant. Maybe one or two struggled with bureaucracy but for the most part it sounded like there was a great deal of buy in and most organizations were eager to partner with Rotarians to do this project.

This project provided a ground swell of excitement around the Peace Pole project. I expect there will be continued momentum from this project. I could easily see this project growing to hundreds of other Rotary clubs, schools, houses of worship, law enforcement organizations around the country to engage in a “build peace” movement.

The key that helped the momentum is having a Rotarian in geographic area that is excited about the project. Mike Caruso was championing the project and I believe that’s the reason the Newberg club ordered 50 poles. Also, his enthusiasm and the fact that the project became a collective opportunity for all schools, churches and civic offices in Newberg to participated help get buy in. Those groups wanted to be part of what was happening in their community. This is what we should duplicate nationwide.

Highlights from the project:

 50 peace poles planted in the City of Newberg on Friday, April 14th.

6 poles at planted at Elmonica Elementary School in Beaverton. Poles will have 24 different languages on them.

19 poles to be planted in the city parks of Lake Oswego.

A new translation for “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in the Tualatin Valley Native American Language of Chinuk Wawa will be used on peace poles in Sherwood, McMinnville and Tigard.

The North Precinct Police Station will be planting a beautiful wooden peace pole after their Community Peace collaborative meeting on Friday, April 21st at 11:30pm.

Testimonials of 100 Peace Pole Project:

When asked, “ What will having a peace pole mean to your organization and what hopes do you have in terms of it’s impact on the community?’ Here’s what some of the organizations planting poles had to say…

“Having a visible pole will be a visible daily reminder to our staff, guests and passers-by that peace and understanding begins with empathy.” – Portland Children’s Museum – Portland Rotary

“The peace pole symbolizes the community’s diversity and reminds everyone that the library is a safe, peaceful environment for all.” Vancouver Washington Community Libruary Rotary of Vancouver

“We want to place a visual reminder to promote peace and understanding among all of humankind, regardless of our differences.” Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue – Sherwood Rotary

“We have struggled to find meaningful ways to bring peace to our communities and our belief is that this is a great way to connect and perhaps provide inroads for future peace cooperative activities.” Rotary club of Forest Grove Daybreak

“Our hope is that this peace pole will be an inspiration to staff and clients who see it every day, as well as to other people/organizations that may decide to join the peace pole movement. Our peace pole will stand as a reminder of an individual’s social responsibility as a community member.” Morrison child and Family Service – Portland Rotary

“We will be the first congregation that is a demonstration of the Kindness Commons initiative. The peace pole will be a concrete example of our values and our multifaceted work to strengthen civic bonds.” Congregation Neveh Shalom, Portland Oregon – Portland Rotary

“To show a unified message of peace and harmony. This supports the Districts “All Means All: initiative and sends a strong message.” Newberg School District – Newberg Rotary

“It will stand as a reminder that it takes action from each individual to create a peaceful community, nation and world. We all hold the responsibility to respect each other which is the foundation of peace.” Newberg School District – Newberg Rotary

“We hope our neighborhood will see us as hands of God.” Newberg Church of the Nazarene

“A peace pole shows determination to solve problems diplomatically and live peaceably.” Newberg Habitat for Humanity

“Visual commitment to a city wide effort for peace.” Newberg Friends Church