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Church will give Tracey Sparling’s ghost bike a permanent home


Tracey Sparling's Ghost Bike-2
Tracey Sparling’s ghost bike, as it
stood on the corner of W. Burnside and
14th from October 2007 to October 2009.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The ghost bike that served as a memorial to Tracey Sparling, the 19-year old art student who was struck and killed by a cement truck on W. Burnside back in 2007, will become part of a permanent shrine in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in downtown Portland.

The bike will be installed along with a plaque in the Portland Bicycle Shrine that the church dedicated last year. A ceremony will be held in conjunction with the event this Tuesday (4/13) at 5:30 pm.

The plaque was donated to the church by Tracey’s parents, Lee and Sophie Sparling. Following Tracey’s death, her family maintained a ghost bike at the corner of W Burnside and 14th for two years. They would decorate it for various holidays and make sure the flowers were fresh. Last October, Mr. and Mrs. Sparling, Tracey’s aunt Susan Kubota and other friends and family, met with local activists who rallied for traffic safety improvements following her death. They gathered at Ringler’s Pub (just yards from where Tracey was struck) to remove her ghost bike. The occasion was a reunion of sorts, along with a remembrance of Tracey, and a way for people close to her to move on in their grieving process.

At the service on Tuesday, clergy of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Parish, the Revs. Dennis Parker and Kenneth Arnold, will bless the bicycle with chain oil. In a statement from St. Stephen’s, Father Dennis Parker says everyone is invited to the event, “to join in remembering this remarkable young woman whose promising life was cut short so tragically.”

Susan Kubota told me this morning that, “Our family could not have hoped for a better place to let Tracey’s ghost bike rest.”

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