Rotary installs Peace Pole at Jackson Park

PEACEBUILDER committee member Steve Schmidt, above left, and Rotary President Joe Guenther show the Peace Pole at a meeting last week.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
PEACEBUILDER committee member Steve Schmidt, above left, and Rotary President Joe Guenther show the Peace Pole at a meeting last week.

A new Peace Pole for Hood River was dedicated Friday at the Jackson Park entrance, courtesy of Hood River Rotary.

This is the second Peace Pole in the city, one of thousands around the world serving as reminders that there may be better alternatives to conflict, according to Rotarian Steve Schmidt, who serves on the club Peacebuilder Committee.

The pole contains the words “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in eight different languages, representing the countries of Hood River Rotary exchange students through the years. English, Spanish, Chinese, Thai, French, Hindi, Danish, and Swiss.


The existing pole at Big Horse Brew Pub, left, was installed in 1996.

Rotary Peacebuilder Clubs throughout Northwest Oregon will be dedicating over 120 Peace Poles on the same day.

Peace Poles initially started in the country of Japan, and have spread worldwide with many distinguished dedicators including Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama, Pope John Paul II, Coretta Scott King, and the presidents of many countries.

The Hood River Rotary plans to make this an annual event, with Peace Poles eventually spread throughout our community, with more and more languages represented, according to Rotary President Joe Guenther.

The pole is the second of its kind in Hood River, but the first sponsored by Rotary. The first Hood River Peace Pole was installed in June 1996 behind Big Horse Brew Pub, just above the Overlook Memorial Park at Second and State streets. The Peace Pole Project put more than 100,000 poles around the United States and 159 other countries. It was coordinated locally by JoAnne Allen, as an appreciation for humanity and a wish for global peace and harmony.

The seven-foot pole was a gift from Japan to Hood River, Allen said in the June 10, 1996, edition of the Hood River News. The article said that both city council and the county board discussed the donation, but “neither had enough time to find a suitable location” before the Japanese delegation arrived, so it was placed on private property. Adjacent to the pole is the city’s Stratton Gardens park, developed in 2006.

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