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After road sign painted over, some residents look forward to change

Somebody painted over the word 'Dead' with green paint to try and prompt faster change to the road's name. (KTVL/Mike Marut)

Ashland, Ore. - Nobody knows who covered 'Dead' on Dead Indian Memorial Road with green paint, but many residents are happy about the temporary change.

Jackson County Roads Department says the sign will have to be replaced, but there are already discussions in place to change the name and drop 'Dead' altogether. The road extends from Ashland to Highway 140 in Klamath County.

Residents who live along the road say the name is always a point of discussion.

"It's hard to build a brand when you have to talk to vendors across the country and eventually give up our address as being Dead Indian Memorial," Esperanza Tervalon-Garrett, who lives along the road and owns a business on the road, said. "It's embarrassing, frankly, and we apologize for it profusely."

Tervalon-Garrett owns a hops farm along the road. She and her wife moved to Ashland six months ago and seriously considered not buying the property because of the road's name. Ultimately, they decided to buy the property and make changing the name their first act of activism in their new community.

"Activism around changing the name of this road felt right," Tervalon-Garrett said. "It popped up on Facebook [Wednesday] night totally unprovoked and I saw a lot of opinions, which I greatly respect. I felt compelled to step in and share my perspective as someone who lives here."

Residents have been working on changing the name for at least a year now. With the painted sign, they hope the process will go a bit quicker.

"It's time for this to change. It's just right," David Hyde said. "A number of years back [Jackson County Commissioners] did add 'memorial' as a sort of gift, but it didn't solve the problem."

Hyde has been trying to get the name to change for about a year.

Residents already started a Change.org petition. If you would like to sign it, click here. They believe it will be a first step in making the painted temporary sign into a permanent sign. Residents plan to present the petition to the Jackson County Planning Department and Jackson County Commissioners.

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