Atop Bowden Ranch Trail is a large green watch tower that can be viewed from Johnson Avenue or Monterey Street. However, since early October, its green metal bars have been clothed by an array of accessories honoring victims of the Las Vegas shooting.
Las Vegas experienced the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history Oct. 1. After gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire into the crowd at Route 91 Harvest Festival, killing 59 people and injuring hundreds, grief and sadness blanketed the country.
Manufacturing engineering senior Griffin Glenn had several friends who witnessed the shooting and one friend whose mother was shot and killed during the massacre.
“They were running through a war zone,” Glenn said.
The day after the attacks, Glenn went to the San Luis Obispo Fire Department (SLOFD) station on Chorro Street and asked for an American flag to hang in honor of the victims. SLOFD firefighters gave him a flag that he hung on the tower atop Bowden Ranch Trail, also referred to as “High School Hill.”
“I just wanted to go put the firefighters flag on the top of the hill and then it kind of started growing and growing,” Glenn said.
Numerous San Luis Obispo restaurants and organizations donated merchandise to adorn the tower. Products ranged from cups from Blackwater Clothing, shirts from Bull’s Tavern and SLO Donut Company and chips from Taco Works. The donated apparel and objects represent each San Luis Obispo partner that is supporting the victims and people affected by the tragedy.
Petra Mediterranean Pizza and Grill owner Rammy Aburashed said he wanted to stand with Las Vegas in any way he could after the shooting. Glenn visited Petra the day after the shooting, asking if Aburashed would donate something to show support. Petra contributed a hat and shirt to hang on the tower.
“I tried to give him whatever I could because I felt it was important,” Aburashed said. “Having [the merchandise] up there makes me happy and represents the resturant.”
Soon after more businesses joined in the movement, people began posting photos of the decorated tower to Snapchat and Instagram, with the hashtag #slostandswithvegas. Glenn said the hashtag gained communitywide attention and encouraged other California cities to create similar memorials.
Though about three weeks have passed since the fatal attacks, people everywhere are still struggling to cope with the aftermath. Glenn said he hoped to bring the San Luis Obispo community together in support.
“It’s to honor the dead and for the people trying to cope with it,” Glenn said.
Correction: A previous version of this article said Griffin Glenn is a mechanical engineering student. It has been corrected to say manufacturing engineering.