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Oregon honors Korean War vets with I-5 signs

The Oregon Department of Transportation is installing veteran appreciation signs along Interstate 5, thanks to funds donated by veterans groups.

House Bill 2036 passed last year designated all of Interstate 5 in Oregon as a Korean War Veterans War Memorial Highway, the first stretch of I-5 dedicated to the "Forgotten War" veterans.

"I'm very happy," said Henry Nussbaum of Grants Pass, commander of the local Korean War Veterans chapter.

Nussbaum served in the Navy in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

His chapter raised over $5,000 to pay for about half of the 11 signs designated for I-5, including the one that went up Thursday just north of Exit 58.

The route has also been designated the Purple Heart Trail, part of a program begun in 1992 citing the medal for those killed or wounded in war.

Another sign went up south of Medford, while others are planned for Salem, Albany, Roseburg and Eugene, with two each in those locations.

HB2036 also designated U.S. Highway 395, which stretches from Lakeview north through Pendleton, as the World War I Veterans Memorial Highway, and named the coastal U.S. Highway 101 the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans Memorial Highway.

U.S. Highway 97 and Interstate 84 already honor World War II and Vietnam war veterans.

State Sen. Herman Baertschiger, whose district includes portions of Josephine and Jackson counties, was one of 19 lawmakers who sponsored the bill.