DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Friday begins the first weekend after the tragic Oregon District shooting, as the Dayton community continues to heal.
Businesses and citizens from surrounding areas continue to pay their respects, offer prayers, and show support.
Sidewalk chalk sends messages of love and peace to those walking.
Flowers are laid throughout the streets; in front of multiple businesses, resting in the bullet-holes of windows, and taped to street signs.
Post-It Notes with words of encouragement were posted on walls and windows along Fifth Street.
The largest memorial is resting in front of Ned Peppers Bar. Wreaths, crosses, candles, and other messages have been placed by citizens and the memorial continues to grow each day.
As the first weekend approaches, community members and business owners said that they are looking forward to getting back to normal.
One visitor, named Victoria, lived in the Oregon District during the late 1980’s and continued to be a part of the art scene.
“I made a whole lot of friends down here,” Victoria said. “I played a lot of music. As a matter of fact, I sat over here busking with a guitar and a dog.”
Victoria said she wanted to visit the memorial as a way of finding closure.
“[I came] to close a distance between where I live and what happened,” Victoria said. “There’s still a space that I wanted closed up.”
Victoria hopes Dayton and other cities find the strength to keep being kind to one another.
“Just keep staying as happy and kind as you can,” Victoria said. “Take care of yourself the best you can so you can take care of others.”
In the WDTN.com Web Exclusive below, Victoria talks about how the tragedy affected her and what she hopes comes out of this tragedy:
Gary Dunn, a Dayton native, said he enjoyed coming to the Oregon District with his wife to enjoy the architecture. The area reminds him of his time in New Orleans.
“Nice restaurants, very friendly people, [there is] a homey and warm feeling when you come down here,” said Dunn.
Dunn paid his respects and took photographs of the area as a way of remembering the tragedy. He had just donated blood at the Community Blood Center.
“I want my children and my grandchildren to remember that we can continue,” Dunn said. “It’s hard for something like this to happen. Other cities have gone through it, they survived, and so shall we.
“It just shows that this is a good community,” said Dunn. “We can put away our differences. It makes us stronger.”
In the WDTN.com Web Exclusive below, Gary Dunn discusses his love for the Oregon District and his hopes for the community:
Amelia O’Dowd is the owner of Brim on Fifth, a hat and accessories store.
O’Dowd said that her business – as well as the surrounding stores – were busy all week.
“People have been making an active effort to support the businesses,” O’Dowd said. “We had someone who was just going down the street and spending $20 in every store.”
Regular customers have come to check-in on staff and offer support, including sending words of encouragement through social media when the business announced it would be closed for one day while employees took time to grieve.
“The outpouring of support from people made it a lot easier to come back,” O’Dowd said.
O’Dowd also emphasized how close of a relationship Oregon District businesses have with one another:
“This is two blocks. We take care of each other, we all know each other, we know people who were there, we have friends that we’ve been checking in with.”
In the WDTN.com Web Exclusive below, Amelia O’Dowd discusses how Oregon District businesses have coped with the tragedy:
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