‘Roseburg Strong’: Simple tattoo, strong message

Tattoo artist James Walls inked more than 40 people with "Roseburg Strong" tattoos

Tattoo artist James Walls inked more than 40 people with "Roseburg Strong" tattoos on Tuesday. (KOIN)
Tattoo artist James Walls inked more than 40 people with "Roseburg Strong" tattoos on Tuesday. (KOIN)

ROSEBURG, Ore. (KOIN) — Community members are continuing to show their support for victims of the Umpqua Community College shooting by getting tattoos in remembrance of their fallen neighbors.

Tattoo artist James Walls inked more than 40 people with “Roseburg Strong” tattoos at High Priestess Piercing & Tattoo on Tuesday.

“I just wanted to help,” Walls said. “I just wanted to do something positive and help the community, bring more people together.”

It’s a simple tattoo with a strong message. The tattoo parlor has raised more than $3,300 that will go to victims and their families.

Tattoo artist James Walls inked more than 40 people with "Roseburg Strong" tattoos on Tuesday. (KOIN)
Tattoo artist James Walls inked more than 40 people with “Roseburg Strong” tattoos on Tuesday. (KOIN)

Many of those getting the “Roseburg Strong” tattoo say it’s a way to soothe some of the pain felt from the shooting. Locals say it demonstrates how much a community can come together in the wake of a deadly attack.

“When something as tragic as what happened last Thursday happens, and everybody gathers together, nothing beats it,” Roseburg resident Tanner Taylor said. “Nothing does.”

Tualatin resident Jeanette Chaffee knows what it’s like to live through a traumatic event. In 1986, she said she was on a commercial airplane heading to Greece when a bomb exploded onboard.

She drove to Roseburg to help those grieving.

“Since I am a terrorist survivor, I get it,” Chaffee said. “I thought maybe I could give a little comfort to someone… the people here are so crushed and reeling with sadness.”

Healing, grieving and the reawakening of community spirit are happening simultaneously as Roseburg moves on from the unthinkable tragedy.

The road to a better future is taking place one small step, or tattoo, at a time.

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